Russian company expected to bid on Air Force refueling tanker

Discussion in 'OFF-Topic / Misc.' started by vikingBerserker, Mar 20, 2010.

  1. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    from CNN.com

    Interesting to say the least.

    Russian company expected to bid on Air Force refueling tanker

    Washington (CNN) -- A new twist in the Air Force's 10-year effort to build an aerial refueling tanker may bring a bid from a Russian state-owned aerospace company for the $35 billion tanker contract, according to the company's U.S. attorney.

    The company, United Aircraft Corporation will create a joint venture between a still to be announced U.S. contract company and UAC-America, according to John C. Kirkland, a Los Angeles, California-based lawyer representing UAC. Kirkland would not identify the American partner.

    "The Russians spoke with Hillary Clinton today about it," Kirkland said.

    While no mention was made of the tanker bid by either Secretary of State Clinton or Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin when they met Friday, Putin did urge greater access for Russian companies in the U.S. market.

    "As far as our economic cooperation is concerned, certainly our major companies are very much interested in such a cooperation and they're expecting us to support them," Putin said to Clinton. "A message should be sent that they are welcome both in the economy of the United States and of Russia."

    "We would very much like to get into specifics about how to remove barriers and open opportunities," replied Clinton.

    The Russian-American joint venture would be based in Los Angeles, Kirkland said, but he said the aircraft could be built anywhere in the country.

    Kirkland said the aircraft the company would put forward is based on the Russian Ilyushin Il-96, a four-engine commercial airliner.

    Also on Friday, European aircraft maker EADS said it remains interested in bidding the tanker contract despite its U.S. partner, Northrop-Grumman, dropping out of the competition earlier this month.

    "Yesterday the U.S. Department of Defense indicated it would welcome a proposal from EADS North America as prime contractor for the KC-X tanker competition," EADS said Friday.

    "This is a significant development. EADS is assessing this new situation to determine if the company can feasibly submit a responsive proposal to the department's request for proposal," the company said.

    Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said the Department of Defense has received a request by EADS to extend the time to submit a proposal by 90 days.

    "The department is considering it," Whitman said.

    Until Friday's announcement, Boeing was the only company to bid on the contract.

    Northrop and European partner EADS, the parent company of Airbus, originally won the contract in February 2008, but a protest by Boeing reversed that decision, forcing the Air Force to change the requirements for the plane. Northrop dropped its bid on March
     
  2. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    Not sure what to think about this. Part of me says if they can come up with a good cost effective aircraft, more power to them. The part of me says that I would rather see EADS get it than a Russian company. Of course since this is a USAF requirement I would rather see Boeing get it...
     
  3. Colin1

    Colin1 Active Member

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    I can't see a contract that big going abroad, we were surprised when EADS got it
     
  4. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    You have to give them full marks for even trying even though they have as much chance of getting the contract as I do
     
  5. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    It will be a real sad testimony to American ingenuity and engineering for a foreign contractor to not only bid on an American military project because of a lack of any opposing bid, but the possibility of a foreign contractor winning that bid. What the eff happened to this country?!?!
     
  6. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    I agree, Eric...

    Here we are in the middle of a terrible economy, high unemployment and all that goes along with it, and they're looking to outfit our military with foreign equipment?
     
  7. Torch

    Torch Well-Known Member

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    I think the advantage for the Russian design is they can refuel 2 at a time from wing probes instead of the tail probe.
     
  8. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    Kind of like our KC-130s do?
     

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  9. gumbyk

    gumbyk Well-Known Member

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    I would have thought this was about outfitting your military with the best equipment? Which may or may not be American.
     
  10. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    If they could offer some offset agreement where part of the work is done here, let them bid. Personally I don't think they have a snowballs chance in hell.
     
  11. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    Well, honestly, the U.S. has had a pretty good track record with the quality of thier equipment. Being a large industrialized nation that we are, we should be able to rely on our domestic manufacturers for equipping our military. There are, and always be some exceptions, such as the Harrier.

    But at this point in time, I think it is nessecary to keep our purchase domestic, so it will keep folks employed and help the economy as much as possible. :)
     
  12. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    I agree, but my gripe is that we used to have all kinds of innovation and technological know how here in the US that seems to be vanishing. There was a time when 3, 4 5 bids would come in for projects like these. I am just saddened that it has come to this.
     
  13. Torch

    Torch Well-Known Member

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  14. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    I don't see this going anywhere for a few reasons.

    UAC (Actually United Technologies) has NO experience in dealing with the construction of a large multi-engine aircraft. UT is made of of Pratt and Whitney, Sikorsky, Hamilton Standard, PZL, Schweitzer and Rocketdye in their aerospace divisions. They would have to make provisions to either have the aircraft assembled here (they currently have no facilities for that unless they "borrow" one of the UASF Plants that are currently empty, the old B-1 facility in Palmdale comes to mind) or they would have to have the aircraft flown over here "white tailed" and then modified. That would be possible as the Il-96 does have a US TCDS and can fly here in civilian registry.

    As far as the solid refueling boom - Boeing has had a patent on that item since aerial refueling started and I know that was also a sticking point on the original Northrop entry. You need that boom to refuel larger aircraft quickly.

    I don't see how UA can show OEM design compatability with US standards for material and hardware.

    I still say let them bid - it keeps the bidding process on this competative.
     
  15. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    I admit I don't see how letting this bid continue makes it a competative tender when it stands no chance of being accepted. If the US wouldn't allow a European/US tender a fair crack of the whip they sure as hell wouldn't allow the Russians a chance.
     
  16. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Actually the European/US tender was allowed and did win the bid (as we all know). It was the protest that opened up the can of worms. BTW Northrop opted not to rebid on this program.

    Believe it or not this sought of defense bidding goes on all the time in the US where a US company may partner with a foreign manufacturer. Examples of this are the T-6 Texan II and the T-45 Goshawk
     
  17. gumbyk

    gumbyk Well-Known Member

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    Happens all over the world, mainly to deal with public perception and politics.
    I worked with a company that teamed up with a major international company for a local military contract, with us being the 'main bidder' simply because that would have gone over better with the public.
     
  18. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    The question is why didn't Northrop rebid and the reason is that the new rules were biased to the smaller Boeing aircraft.

    I know that the European/US tender won the first contest and it was interesting that the appeal wasn't based on the superiority of the Boeing aircraft or tender. The goalposts were changed.

    Do you seriously think that a Russian tender would be taken seriously. If it was offered for free the American Politicos would still shoot it down in flames.
     
  19. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    #19 FLYBOYJ, Mar 22, 2010
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2010
    Simple - it cost money to bid these contracts, sometimes a lot of money. Their management may have felt that it wasn't worth it for them to continue to pursue this, especially after the money spent during the protest.

    Actually the goal posts were set wrong to begin with and I believe that came out during the protest.
    No.. And they will get shot down before any politicians get involved.

    It would if the prime (UA) met some of the parameters I mentioned. Just the fact that they have no large aircraft assembly or modification experience will put them out of the running.
     
  20. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    I certainly agree that if you know that you don't have a chance then it pointless throwing money away.

    Of course
    That we can agree on.
     
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