Saturday, March 1, 2008

Air Force Blows Off Boeing

-Chicago's 110 Story Sears Tower-
Congress Spits Bullets over Boeing’s Loss

WASHINGTON – And the winner is…AIRBUS!

The United States Air Force yesterday awarded Los Angeles based Northrop Grumman Corp. and A European partner, AIRBUS a $35 billion contract to build airborne refueling planes, delivering a major blow to Boeing Co., formerly the Seattle based now Chicago based aeronautics corporation that has been supplying refueling sky-tankers to the Air Force for nearly 50 years and had been widely expected to hang onto that monopoly.

So why did the Air Force nix Boeing? Something to do with size, despite the fact that, according to analyst Troy Lahr, Boeing offered the U.S. government comparable functionality with a significantly reduced tab:

Stifel, Nicolaus & Co. analyst Troy Lahr said in a research note it was surprising the Northrop-EADS team won given the estimated $35 million per-plane savings offered by Boeing. Lahr estimated the Boeing aircraft would have cost $125 million apiece. "It appears the (Air Force) chose capabilities over cost," Lahr said.

OR maybe the new contract has more to do with former Boeing executive Michael Sears that sent him to the slammer in 2003 that tarred Boeing and also sent a top Air Force acquisition official to prison for conflict of interest that led to the collapse of an earlier tanker contract with Boeing?

On another note, could this Michael Sears be related to the actual tower family in Chicago where the curious, hard-hatted 2Truthy, as a youth, spent a few Saturdays roaming around the construction site with her Dad while his structural engineering testing labs company drilled for and ensured the foundation’s massive caissons for the mighty 110 tall tower were good to go?

Does Congress “work” for the citizens who elect them or for corporations? During these trying times when the country is in a recession and jobs are scare, the Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi goes on the Charlie Rose show and gleefully extols the virtues of outsourcing American jobs and wink-wink-nod-nod confirming that back room dealing is going on to ensure it (watch the whole video if you can stand it) that she does not care who suffers, the nation’s head corporate welfare cheerleader known as The Speaker of the House dispels any myths that a few bucks are always to be made at the expense of the country’s citizens.

Note that if Boeing had won the contract, the tankers would be built in Kansas. The Air Force’s selection has not only a few executives at Boeing major pissed but a curious mix of happy and sad Congressmen who stood to lose and gain as well:

"We should have an American tanker built by an American company with American workers," said Rep. Todd Tiahrt, R-Kan., who represents the district in Wichita where Boeing would have done much of the tanker work."

What? No Rolls Royce engines? The state of Kansas and Rep. Tiahrt lost but Alabama and Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., and AIRBUS scored bigtime. But the EADS/Northrop Grumman team plans to perform its final assembly work in Mobile, Ala., although the underlying plane would mostly be built in Europe. And it would use General Electric engines built in North Carolina and Ohio. Northrop Grumman, which is based in Los Angeles, estimates a Northrop/EADS win would produce 2,000 new jobs in Mobile and support 25,000 jobs at suppliers nationwide.

"I've never seen anything excite the people of Mobile like this competition," Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., said. "We're talking about billions of dollars over many years so this is just a huge announcement."

Moral of the story? Maybe next time, Boeing executives and Air Force procurement personnel will keep it all under the radar? And why DID Boeing move to Chicago from Seattle? Needless to say, in the state of Washington, people are none too pleased:

In Everett, Wash., a few dozen Boeing workers protested outside a Machinists Union hall holding up signs saying "American workers equal best tankers," and "Our military deserves the best."

One of these days, maybe our “people” will start believing that they deserve the best again and start voting with their consciences to throw the bums (Congress) out.


1 comment:

Annapolis said...

Stop giving our jobs to slumdogs. Period.