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US to reopen Boeing-Airbus bidding war over refuellers

The US Air Force is set to reopen a bidding war between Boeing and arch-rival Airbus over the replacement of its ageing fleet of refuelling aircraft essential to Washington's ability to project power beyond its borders. ( More...

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Chris B 3
Here we go again. This has been going on since what 2008.....when the first award was made and Boeing protested.

Boeing still can't deliver a plane that can refuel all the Air Force fleet. Our Airmen and women do not need to have their missions cut short because of its limitations. The 707-KC135s are very old but able to service every aircraft in the fleet.

The Northrop Grumman/Airbus GE powered alternative was to be built in Mobile Al. That's now the home of the A220 another aircraft Boeing fought and lost the battle for.

The announcement suggesting the contract is up for grabs is window dressing. Politics killed the Northrop-Grumman Air Force product and also the US Navy product. I can't imagine Northrop Grumman bidding on the next batch of KC46.

All the Airforce needs is an aircraft that can do what the Taxpayer paid for and the Air Force badly needs.
John Steiner 7
Boeing is a shell of what it once was thanks to beancounters replacing skilled engineers and production personnel.
tony badzioch 4
Just like what happened to Hewlett-Packard.
Robert Graham 2
B787 refueler aircraft?
srobak 2
they can't even get the currently awarded bird in the air, reliably - and they are already worried about the next one?

meanwhile - the 135 keeps on keeping on.
Because the KC-135/707 was designed and built by Boeing engineers, not former McD accountants.
Bayne Just 4
It must be awarded to Boeing. Support American made especially especially for the military
The Airbus was going to be US made. In Alabama and the conversion to tanker was going to be done by Northrop. But politics and lobbying by Washington (state) interest killed the award. Being an ally goes both ways! Don't just expect them to buy from you but also buy from them when the product is superior as well as a much more modern airframe.
SkyAware123 1
Even if it's inferior? NO. We need the best. Your way of thinking will get us inferior material.
deegeedee 1
It was already awarded to Boeing, and here we are still waiting from them to produce the product.
A lack of quality in the product should be the ONLY reason to award the contract to Airbus
sparkie624 0
I don't even think that they should be eligible to bid.
wiregold 2
Boeing has delivered 46 planes since 2019 - "46 planes currently flying are hobbled by a defective fuel delivery system and other glitches, and will not be fully operational until 2023."
Like their not fully operational fuel valves on Starliner.
'Not Fully Operational' is Boeing's wheelhouse.
At this rate it won’t be long before Russian and Chinese aerospace contractors will be bidding for US military contracts.
Wayne Fox 2
Maybe Airbus could convert some of their mothballed A380's and refuel everything flying.
sparkie624 3
I seriously doubt the structure could hold the weight of all that fuel
Greg Dressel 1
The US Navy is already going the way of unmanned tankers. This is another case of the US Air Force fighting the last war. If the US Navy can do it, why not the Air Force ?
srobak 4
the us navy doesn't have any aircraft that require any notable amounts of fuel. meanwhile - the AF takes care of AF1, C-5s, C-17s, C-130s, B1s, B2s, B-52s and much more - the capacity of each would run your car for a year.
Greg Dressel -3
Build a bigger drone for refueling AF gas guzzlers.
srobak 2
worst idea ever. to much of military ops and services has already been farmed out to civilians and automation.
Greg Dressel 0
Are you saying the Reaper equipped with Hellfire missiles is bad ? That is a very effective killing machine and keeps our military personnel out of harm's way. Its time for the military to focus on automating more support vehicles and weapons systems. If a refueling drone crashes that's bad but there is no need for a rescue squad. BAT 21 is a good example of a rescue mission gone South. Let's start fighting the next war today.
srobak 4
we're talking about tankers here. not attack aircraft. Bat21 is how many decades ago? You do not improve a military force by stripping it's numbers. Did you learn nothing as a result of the fallout of 5 rounds of BRAC?
Greg Dressel -1
Now we have Reapers to accomplish the same intelligence mission as BAT 21 without putting any airman in harms way. An unmanned drone tanker can fly closer to the action without risking airmen and allow increased bomb weights on the planes. Force multiplication is accomplished by automation, new technology and strategy, not more military personnel. We need to quit fighting WW II.
Jesse Carroll 1
747 0r MD80's/L1011 type is perfect!
Kenneth Nagel 0
The way things have been going for Boeing lately, I would not be surprised to see the contact awarded to Airbus....
Brian Naylor -1
Since Boeing has other problems, and is still unable to fulfil it's previous commitment to make refueling tankers, they should excluded from this.
sparkie624 2
Then what US Supplier could build the tanker! We cannot rely on Foreign Products to support our Defenses. that just is not a smart move.
Franco Prizzi 2
Agree but Airbus (although lead by french politicians) is a western reality.
In theory we are sharing the same ideals. We European are not enemy of America, we shouldn't be confused with Chinese or Russians. Of course it is not so simple, as Brexit as unfold, but it is not like giving your national core IT to Huawei.
Les Ede -4
IMHO.... Boeing should not be allowed to bid on anything... They had their chance and delivered Aircraft with a multitude of problem and late to boot... Boeing should be ashamed of their selves for not being able to produce a quality product. For my money boeing can go hide in a corner....
sparkie624 2
Why Not... Rather than getting than a foreign country.... I mean really we must be self sufficient... when you have to go defend yourself if you make your own equipment no one can take it from you - If you buy an Airbus product and 10 years down the road things go south in relation ship then you have little to no support and probably no parts... Ok for companies inside the US bidding for a contract but not outside...
philip ryan -2


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