Archive for Kansas

Good Summary Of The KC-X Situation

The Kansas City Star has this lengthy article that describes the whole situation and explains how we got where we are with the KC-X tanker RFP. The article by Cleon Rickle may be found here. Key takeaways are:

“”I am confident Boeing can build the best plane for the Air Force, no matter the competition,” said U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts,of Kansas. “However, I urge the Department of Defense to run a fair competition and avoid coddling EADS to the detriment of American warfighters who have waited eight years for this contest to end and decades for a new tanker.”

“We will offer a modern, more capable tanker in response to the Defense Department’s decision to encourage competition for this major taxpayer investment,” said EADS North America chairman Ralph Crosby, Jr. “Our KC-45 is the only real, flying, low-risk solution that today meets the demanding Air Force air refueling requirements and is actually in production now. ”

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Boeing Will Submit Proposal Based on K-767

As it did in the last contest two years ago Boeing (BA) plans to submit a 767 based tanker. This is similar to the ones they are already building for Japan. To differentiate it from previous versions they are calling it a “NewGen” aircraft. Boeing will upgrade the basic 767 design with a new fueling boom and parts of the 787 cockpit technology.

There is still no formal word from Northrop Grumman (NOC) or EADS (EADS:P) if they plan to submit a proposal this time around.

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Senator Murray (D-WA) Illustrates She Knows Nothing About U.S. Economy

The competition between Boeing (BA) and Northrop Grumman (NOC) for the KC-X contract is pretty hot. As with many of these contracts the states that stand to benefit the most legislators are supportive. The states being Washington and Kansas for Boeing and primarily Alabama for Northrop. At the same time it doesn’t help anybody to throw insults around and play loose with facts.

Recently Senator Patty Murray of Washington was on National Public Radio (NPR) and supposedly said that “I would challenge anybody to tell me that they’ve stood on a line in Alabama and seen anybody building anything.” Ms. Murray demonstrates taht she knows little or nothing about the U.S. economy and Alabama’s contribution.

Mercedes Benz and Honda make thousands of cars a year in Alabama one assumes on a production line. Hyundai has a 500,000 car a year plant as well. Boeing employs thousands of people in the state as well working for NASA and the Defense Department. So she insulted those people while supporting them at the same time.

The contest should be above such petty insults.

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Boeing Confirms Use Of Wichita Facility If KC-X Won

Boeing’s (BA) Wichita, KS plant has supported may of their military programs over the years. In their last bid for the KC-X proposal the 767 aircraft would have been modified to become the new tanker there. In October the company would no longer make that commitment to using the Wichita plant. The company had discussed using a lower cost plant to do the work with an eye to lowering their overall cost. This obviously was a blow to the employees and the political supporters of the work being done there.

Now Boeing announced yesterday that at least some of the military conversion of the aircraft will be carried out in Wichita. This will gain them even further support from some key Senators and Congressmen as well as there unions. In many ways the company had no real choice. The Wichita plant has long been established, can do the work and needs it. The announcement makes sense at this time.n

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Kansas Quietly Supports Boeing

The Boeing plant located in Wichita has a long and distinguished history of supporting that company’s military programs. It is safe to assume that if Boeing does win the KC-X contract that some of the work will be done there. That means that Kansas’ leaders are very interested in Boeing winning the deal. In the spirit of this it was reported that the Kansas Governor, Mark Parkinson, recently met with the Air Force Secretary. The former Governor of the state, Kathleen Sebelius, is now a cabinet secretary in the Obama Administration which certainly allows for some low key lobbying.

With the continued economic problems facing the country good manufacturing jobs are hard to come by and this means that mayors, governors and legislators will all be doing their part to support the different bidders in this process.

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Wichita Waits On The KC-X

Boeing has maintained a facility at Wichita, KS for years. In their last proposal for the KC-X Boeing planned on using this plant to do the military conversions of the aircraft as it has for so many others in the past. Unfortunately with the new proposal Boeing no longer makes that guarantee. They are trying to minimize their total cost and that may require the use of another site then Wichita. Unfortunately this will be bad for the Wichita plant as it has been looking for work to keep it open in the future.

As the proposals come in things like this will be interesting to look out for.

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