At a news conference, Air Force officials said that the creation of domestic jobs was not a factor in the decision. In response to questions about possible negative reaction to the deal in Congress, Gen. Arthur J. Lichte, head of the Air Force’s Air Mobility Command, said, “This will be an American tanker, flown by American airmen with an American flag on its tail and, every day, it will be saving American lives.”
Reaction from some in Congress, however, was swift.
“We are outraged that this decision taps European Airbus and its foreign workers to provide a tanker to our American military,” the Washington State delegation said in a joint statement. Boeing planes are assembled outside of Seattle. “This is a blow to the American aerospace industry, American workers and America’s men and women in uniform,” the statement added.
For its part, Boeing, which had been considered the strong favorite to retain the contract, said it was “very disappointed” in the outcome. But it did not say whether it would file a formal protest — something that Gen. T. Michael Moseley, chief of staff of the Air Force, has said that he hoped the losing bidder would not do because it would only further delay the tanker replacement program.
In its statement, Boeing said, “We believe that we offered the Air Force the best value and lowest-risk tanker for its mission.” The company added that only after a debriefing by the Pentagon would the company “make a decision concerning our possible options, keeping in mind at all times the impact to the warfighter and the nation.”
A Boeing victory was considered so certain that many Wall Street analysts had already factored the contract into their economic forecasts for the company. One senator, Kay Bailey Hutchison, Republican of Texas, sent out a press release prematurely praising Boeing for its victory.
“This isn’t an upset,” said Loren B. Thompson, a military analyst at the Lexington Institute, a Washington-area research group. “It’s an earthquake.”
The Air Force decision is also a surprise ending to a protracted contracting process that went on for nearly a decade and became mired in scandal and international politics.
Senator John McCain, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, scuttled an earlier attempt by the Air Force to award the contract to Boeing, opening the door for the Northrop-Airbus bid.
Senator McCain’s campaign spokeswoman referred calls to his Senate office, which could not be reached for comment.
Representative Norm Dicks, a member of the defense subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee and a Democrat from Washington State, said he was attending an anticipated victory party at Boeing’s offices in Washington when the mood suddenly darkened.
Mr. Dicks added: “Here we are in the middle of a recession, and we give this to Airbus? That is not going to go down well.”
Ronald D. Sugar, the chief executive of Northrop Grumman, said in a telephone interview that he expected members of Congress would have a “variety of views” depending on whether their districts would be gaining or losing jobs under the deal.
Mr. Sugar said that 60 percent of the content of the new tanker would come from the United States and that it would create 2,000 jobs in Mobile and 25,000 over all in the United States.
“This is more about the capability that we will give to the kids fighting the wars and the cost to the taxpayer,” Mr. Sugar said.
Backing Mr. Sugar’s view was Senator Richard C. Shelby, an Alabama Republican who hailed the decision as “great news for Alabama.”
Nothing will be cancelled or changed.
Understand politics people. It's satus quo to say " I'm outraged" right after you
voted for something because it favored you committee or pocketbook of constituents.
Much like most of them voted to invade Iraq and are now backpedaling.
It's all politics as usual and the contract will stand...as usual
and lets not forget about operation El Dorado Canyon
Read this and tell me the the France should get ONE penny of your tax dollars. We lost two airmen and had to REFUEL in flight endangering the lives of our men and adding exhausting hours of flight time before they got to their targets!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The only two types of aircraft in the US inventory capable of conducting a precision night attack were the Navy’s A-6s and
the Air Force’s F-111s. The Navy had two aircraft carriers in the Mediterranean at the time planning for the raid: The
America and The Coral Sea. Each had ten A-6 aircraft, but these were not the total of 32 aircraft estimated as required to
successfully hit all five targets with one raid. The closest F-111s were based in the United Kingdom (UK); and use of these
UK based aircraft dramatically affected the scope and complexity of the operation. Planning was even further compounded when
the French refused to grant authority to overfly France. This refusal increased the distance of the flight route from Great
Britain to Tripoli by about 1300 nautical miles each way, added 6-7 hours of flight time for the pilots and crews, and
forced a tremendous amount of additional refueling support from tanker aircraft.
Hunter: Air Force Decision Costs U.S. More Than 100,000 Thousand Jobs
Washington D.C. – U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA), the Ranking Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, today released the following statement regarding the Air Force’s decision to award the KC-45A tanker contract to Northop Grumman-European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS):
“This is a blow and a disservice to the American defense industrial base so vital to our national security interests. This U.S. taxpayer-funded contract was conceded to a socialistic system utilizing a heavily subsidized bid that valued an undercut price ahead of thousands of American workers already struggling to pay their mortgages and send their children to college.
“The hardworking aerospace men and women, and U.S. taxpayers, are the losers in this decision that benefited the treasuries of European governments.
“These are the same European governments who are unwilling to support us in the Global War on Terror and over the last few months refused to provide even an additional one hundred soldiers apiece for Afghanistan operations. Instead, we have to send 3,200 additional U.S. Marines to Afghanistan while they take $35 billion in American taxpayer contracts. Two-thirds of the foreign countries involved in this deal also fail to spend the minimum of two percent of GDP on defense as required by NATO membership.
“Airbus will tell you that they are creating new jobs in Alabama for final assembly. However, they fail to honestly tell the American people that the vast majority of the jobs required to build these aircraft are actually contained in the thousands of subassemblies that are built overseas.”
There must be an echo in here or your old timers issues have been exposed.
BTW...when was that eldorado canyon thing, sometime in the last century wasn't it?
If I remember it was in 1986...how come the "Great Communicator" failed to communicate the very real importance of getting Kidaffy, at least in his mind?