Archive for September, 2010

Effort to Add EADS Subsidies Consideration to Defense Authorization Bill Fails

Senator Murray (D-WA) and Senator Brownback (R-KS) attempted to attach an amendment to the Senate’s 2011 Defense Authorization Bill today that would force the Defense Department and U.S. Air Force to take into account the World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling on subsidies to EADS (EADS:P) by European governments. Due to the fact that the bill did not win enough votes to advance mainly due to the attempt by the Democratic leadership to add the repeal of “Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell” policy on gays in the military the amendment wasn’t considered.

The two whose states stand to gain several thousand jobs if Boeing (BA) wins the KC-X contract will have to wait for this bill to be re-considered or add the amendment to another one. Certainly there are Senators from Alabama and other Southern states who favor EADS who might try to work against the amendment.

Currently the U.S. military cannot consider these kind of trade disputes and rulings in their source selection which is why the attempt was made to add the rule.

This continues to show that the fight for this contract will continue in Congress, the media and across the internet.

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WTO Reported As Ruling Against Boeing in Subsidy Case

A few months ago the World Trade Organization (WTO) ruled that EADS (EADS:P) had received illegal subsidies from various European governments in the form of launch aid loans and tax breaks. The decision was quickly seized upon by Boeing (BA) supporters who want the Department of Defense and the U.S. Air Force to take the advantage these subsidies gave EADS into account in their source selection for the KC-X aerial tanker.

At the same time the WTO was considering a complaint by European governments that Boeing’s (BA) many years of contracts from the American government also aided them in developing their products and reducing their costs. The results of that case were leaked today and they indicate that the WTO will provide some criticism of the U.S. support.

This then was quoted by EADS’ American allies to reiterate the need for these not to be considered in the decision of who will win the contract to build over $35 billion of new tankers.

Because the rulings will not be exactly even and cancel each other out the argument will still go on even as the WTO leaves the issue. Unfortunately the decline of the world’s industrial base to where there are only two Western companies able to build this type of aircraft have led to this situation.

There is no easy resolution to the problem and no decision by the U.S.A.F. that will placate everybody. Once again the chance of a protest seems to be a given.

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Air Force Preparing for Slip to KC-X Award?

There are now reports that the U.S. Air Force may slip the announcement of a winner of the KC-X contract until the end of the year. The last planned date was the middle of November. This was a slight slip as the original goal was to have work start on that date.

Now it could be as late as just before Christmas that an award will be made. There are potential concerns with the results of the mid-term elections in early November that may have to be reflected on when coming to a decision on whether to award to Boeing (BA) or EADS (EADS:P). No matter what the program may see further delay if the loser protests the decision.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) is also addressing two protests by the U.S. Aerospace (USAE) and Antonov team over the failure of the Air Force to accept their proposal claiming it was delivered five minutes too late. There is a chance that any upholding of the protests would cause further delays to the source selection and award.

The KC-X is now on its third iteration over the the last nine years and continues to look as if a new tanker won’t be purchased anytime soon.

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