Tanker Bid ‘Must Have Competition:’ Murtha

Tanker Bid ‘Must Have Competition:’ Murtha

UPDATED: Murtha, Carter Meet.Murtha Declines Comment Through Spokesman..

Northrop Grumman’s threat to withdraw from the KC-X tanker competition is a “blow to the program,” but the House’s top defense appropriator believes “there must be competition” in the ageless battle to buy a new airborne refueler.

Rep. Jack Murtha would not be drawn on whether Congress would step in to require competition, but he did not reject that option. He is meeting Wednesday with the head of Pentagon acquisition, Ash Carter. “I’d rather talk to Carter first,” Murtha said in the Capitol’s ornate appropriations committee room.

In broader budget news, Murtha fought a rearguard action in his attempt to impose some sort of new tax to pay for the Afghan surge. He acknowledged that President Obama had been pretty masterful in defanging Democratic opposition to more troops in Afghanistan, but said Congress must consider and vote on a supplemental for war spending to ensure oversight. “We want to know, how do you plan to spend this money,” he said, adding that the subcommittee would be taking a very close look at how many contractors the administration wants to hire. The $40 billion supplemental would probably come up in April or May, Murtha said. That’s $10 billion more than the $30 billion cited by the president in his Tuesday night speech.

The administration could not roll the bill for the troop surge into the 2011 budget because those expenses for personnel and operations must be paid for cash on the barrel, according to appropriations staffers. And President Obama said most troops will be in Afghanistan by May.

Also, Murtha — who clearly believed Obama had outflanked those who oppose more troops — said the president has “a pretty good plan… but we just want to see more detail.”

But Murtha also said he told the president’s top advisor, Rahm Emanuel, last night that Obama “was real good but he didn’t impress me. Emanuel said, you’ve got be support us…,” Murtha told reporters.

As part of his effort to understand just why the U.S. needs to send more troops, the chairman said he needs proof that the country faces a significant national security threat in Afghanistan. To that end, he is meeting with Dennis Blair, Director of National Intelligence, first thing next week.

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It will be interesting to see if the Competition required by Murtha and Congress will be between Boeing and Boeing. Boeing could submit a 767 and a 777 response. Full competitive price and let the Air Force decide which plane it really wants. This may take the teeth out of NG’s Bluff. With the continuing cost challege of developing the A400M, EADS illegal subsidy government backers may be souring on subsidizing the US Government military development also.

Murtha has his own problems to deal with. If he was so influential, this would be a split buy as I type this. It ain’t. How on earth could airbus’ withdrawal be a “blow to the program”? USAF would finally get a tanker. What is this guy’s “end ame”?

murtha is a scumbag in the pocket of boeing

The whole point is the USAF neither wants nor NEEDS. A tanker the size of the Airbus.….…..Personally, I think the Defense Dept should call there bluff!

Boeing should win the contract period! The U.S.A. should stop contracting out, or off shoring, anymore of the military industrial complex!

Not only is this a growing national security problem but this ought to be a no brainer with the official unemployment rate at 10.2% or 15 million people (unofficially the unemployment rate is 17% or 26 millon people).

Another key industry to watch out for is the semi-conductor industry. Massive amounts of foreign produced micro-chips are making into U.S. miltary equipment, (space, naval, land, air, C4I, etc) and the government acknowledges that increasing numbers of the chips are suspect.

America wake up!

JMN signing off

Would you rather go to war in a Buick or an Accura? So are you saying the Defense Approriations bills should be about jobs and putting people in the US back to work? I guess the theory that we put the best possible weapons in the hands of our warfighters is just going to have to be furloughed until everyone who wants a job can get bck on their feet and caught up on their car and house payments. So if your in Afganistan waiting for the best hardware we can deliver, sorry about that. It’s going to be Oshkosh, Bye Gosh for a while.

“end game”…but you all knew that of course! (Colin, we need an edit function for clods like me who’s typing is spotty).

I heard rumors that by Northrop Grumman agreeing to drop out leaving Boeing as the sole source contractor that Boeing will be reaping a fortune in cost overruns and is going to secretly share half of the windfall profits with Northrop. A win/win situation if I ever heard of one.

I am saying that the long-range economic security and national security are both inter-connected. It is not a theory. We are in the middle of an economic crisis. We ought to harnessing all our technological and industrial strength. We should not be giving any jobs or technologies away. Be it Air Tankers or Micro-Chips.

Giving the contract to Boeing should be the first step in rebuilding the American Industrial Complex. It will also address America’s trade deficit which is a (minus) $700 billion and unemployment.

Regards, JMN

No. Let us put the next generation deeper into debt. Let us have Wall Street send more of the bailout money that saved their bonuses off to China and abroad. Let us eliminate manufacturing capacity in this nation. That is not the best strategy for a lomg term strong, independent and proud nation but it is the best strategy for short-sighted, greedy elites .

Airbus can afford to buy into this “competition if they want to with all their subsidies they receive. And to compare an Airbus to an Acura, you must have never been in either. Ask a military pilot if they want to fly into a war zone with computerized controls that override his attempt at evasive manuvers. And having the French build our tankers, with all the non-support they’ve shown when America needs allied support is the height of stupidity.…

JMN writes that a contract with Boeing will help rebuild the American Industrial Complex, but Northrop is offering to put more jobs and a greater percentage of the contract value into the States, while much of Boeing’s work would go to China.
Then Scot says the Air Force doesn’t need a bigger tanker, who is his authority here? What they want is a tanker that delivers as much as fuel as possible, to as many aircraft as possible, as quickly as possible, at the greatest reach possible, and they’d appreciate an ability to do some hauling of stuff and people too. And they need a proven design and that wouldn’t be late.
The Air Force wants an effective capability. How is that going to be guaranteed when the washroom sink flow is rated equally with refuelling rate?
Murtha’s right — have a competition. But just make make damn sure it delivers what the Air Force needs. If it’s right for the Air Force, it will be right for America.

If you think a Boeing Subsidy will help the American Industrial Complex you are smoking some of that funny stuff. The facts as proudly stated by Boeing, “Since the 1980s, Boeing has purchased more than US $1,000,000,000 in aviation hardware and services from China”, “Boeing has worked together successfully with modern China for 36 years. “, “Boeing equity investment in China is considerable, and Boeing procurement from China is significantly greater than other aviation companies. In fact, Boeing is China’s aviation manufacturing industry’s largest foreign customer.”

Bottom line, Boeing sends huge amounts of US $ to buy their cheap parts from China, their aircraft are no more American made than Wong Tsoo the first engineer hired by Boeing in 1916.

Today’s Non-Ethics Word: Boinginate
Pronunciation: Bo-ing-i-nate
Function: Verb
Etymology: North Western US & Boeing/Aeronovali/JADC Consortium
Date: 2008
Transitive verb
: to habitually lie, cheat, bribe or steal if you really, really want to win

Boeing? You must be joking! Look man, if he were a friend to Boeing (which he never has been), he would be all for a non-compete contract. We both agree, however, that Murtha sux.

I’d rather have the Buick, since it has proven to be the most reliable car after 3 years for the last two years, even beating the Lexus last year for the 2006 model, tying with it in the 2005 model and beating the Accura for over 5 years. Just check out the data on the three year reliability report by the JD Powers company which surveys customers, not “experts”.

On point, the Boeing 767 model is developed and in service. The exact cost’s are known and we should just buy some. Most refueling flights are just training flights that offload a few thousand pounds anyway. We should be working on an unmanned tanker that can stay up for as many hours as desired as long as it has enough fuel to offload and still get home. The unmanned refueling system is developed and well along in tests right now. Let the transports carry cargo.


“to habitually lie, cheat, bribe or steal if you really, really want to win “
Tell that to the UK government after it quashed an investigation into BAE’s bribery of a Saudi Prince. Isn’t the UK one of the “airbus governments”?

Why hasn’t the main stream press covered the allegations NG has raised on the bidding process for the tanker, the largest contract issued by DOD? Boeing is based in Chicago. Bill Daley Rahm’s mentor is on the Boeing board? Did Daley ever discuss the tanker matter with Rahm, Gates, ect.??? Who engineered the media hit job on Murtha this spring? Was someone trying to elevate Norm Dicks? Isn’t Melanie Sloane of CREW a Rahm operative? Why doesn’t someone write a story called: “Chicago Hardball and the Daley tanker”?

Nice try Airbus/EADS/KC-30 Kool-Aid drinkers.

The KC-X developement & procurement contract is worth $35–40 billion. With the Boeing offer >85% ($29.75–34.0 billion) of that is US content & <15% ($5.25–6.0 billion) is foreign content. With the NG/EADS offer <58% ($20.3–23.2 billion) of that is US content & >42% ($14.7–16.8 billion) is foreign content. That means that the Boeing offer is worth $9.45–10.8 billion to the US economy.

pfcem is a tool and a boeing ball washer, anyone who has been on this site for more then a year pays him no attention.…..

The only bidding Murfha is interested in is, who is bidding the most money in his pocket. Remember that $50,000 from a few years ago he gave up when he was close to being caught by the FBI? The other congressman is now doing time. Murtha is for Murtha. He is the one who made remarks about our Marines. Word is, he will not be re relected.
Who ever is in congress in 2010 should be tossed out and we start over. Term limits should be next.

If the facts are true, it doesn’t matter what company he favors. Honestly if NG is going to withdraw from the competition we should just give the contract to Boeing. Because despite the politics between these two companies, those KC-135s aren’t getting any younger.

As a USAF tanker operator for my 20+ career, I feel I can make some real-world based comments on this subject. As the USAF/DOD has shed foreign bases over the last 20 years, contingency operations rely on foreign nations to allow us to use their airfields for basing our aircraft. Given the legs heavy aircraft have, they are often based more than an hour (often further in SW Asia). Given all the aircraft the Commanders want to bring to the fight, space at these “on-loan” bases is at a premium. Therefore, you want to make the most of your real estate. Aside from what the RFP may be requesting or favoring, the ideal KC-135 replacement would be an aircraft that is able to: carry more fuel, burn less fuel per-hour, carry more pallets, carry more pax, AND have a smaller footprint – than the KC-135. Neither of these aircraft fit that bill – because of their footprint. Only an expensive, custom designed and special purpose aircraft could give you more with a smaller footprint. Modern airliner/cargo aircraft are optimized for carrying lighter than jet fuel cargo/pax.

Part — 2
Therefore, the USAF needs to pick the aircraft that gives them the most for its footprint. Make no mistake; this is a refueler first and foremost. Only during peace-time is a tanker used for carrying pax or cargo, as well as the deployment/redeployment of that airframe to/from theater in war-time. The DoD has to look to its war-time mission first – peace-time use is a bonus. While the KC-10 has more capability in the way of; fuel, pallets, and pax carrying capability, it still has fewer booms than the KC-135 per a million square feet of parking. If you think these aircraft don’t need parking, you don’t know the air refueling business. The good news is that both are bidding wide-body aircraft (more pallets/pax for its footprint) and will be air-refuelable themselves — with 3-baskets to boot for NATO/Navy recievers (just like the KC-10).

Hey Buster, my message goes for Boeing too and for whatevers left of our American Military Industrial Complex. No more out sourcing, off shoring, or contracting out, be it Air Tankers or micro-chips.

It’s time to begin rebuilding America! Not Asia, Not India, Not the EU. Our non-representing representatives in washington should do the right thing and work with the private sector to harness what’s left of the MIlitary Industrial complex and advance it. America is worth it.

Boeing should get the contract period!



Obviously your ignorance hasn’t been stamped out. Airbus is owned by EADS. Nothing to do with the UK.

oldP you need to stick to consumer reports on cars and leave the airplanes to those who know something about them! Yes, the Boeing 767 is developed, several models of them, but if you think their proposal of putting parts of the 767–200, 767–300, 767–400, Italian tanker and Japanese tanker together into one Frankentanker is a good idea then you better read the novel. The ending wasn’t good!

Good Morning Folks,

The only concern of Congressman Murtha is the amount of money he will get from the various interest in this. If half the bidders walk away, well the Congressman’s pockets are a little lighter.

The Tanker project is based on an estimation of need done by the Air Force in the late 1990’s. The request was based on the assumption that the there would be 500 F-22s. 500-C-17’s, the JSF coming in by the end of the first decade of the new century at full production and we would need a fleet of at least 500 tankers and that the current fleet would start leaving service in the 2010’s based on estimation of use.

At the time this assessment might have been reasonable. The US was into a never ending no fly operation in Iraq that was raking up hours on high performance fighters, we were support a logistics heavy operation in the Bosnia with a high probably of an air war, which did happen. But the times have changed with 9/11, Afghanistan and Iraq.

The AF will have only 187 F-22’s, the 209th. and close to last C-17 was delivered to the North Carolina Air National Guard in October, the production run of the JSF is very much in doubt and the AF has been reduced in size by about 50K personal. The new contract calls for only 179 Tankers.

The AF is being reduced to having (600) very expensive trained fighter pilot do a two year tours as UAV crews. This is a skam as well as a waste of money. The Army is doing the same mission with enlisted people who have not had millions of dollars invested in them to be fighter pilots.

A more current estimate of need by the AF has scaled back the tanker needs as well as the life span of the existing tanker fleet, which now is estimated by the AF and GAO to be into the 2030’s. There is a noticeable lack of AF officers pushing for this deal.

In fact the only strong support for the tanker bid, is coming from the antebellum conservative toxic think tanks, that are being paid by both bidders to promoted their interests in the decision making process, that have lost there seats at the Pentagon table.

Last Tuesday night President Obama made a rather large and expensive commitment to Afghanistan that has been estimated to cost about $40 billion and the president says he intends to pay for Afghanistan out of current money and not debt. “The Tanker Program” is areal good place to start, cancel it all together. After that the president and Sec. Gates should take another look at the F-35 and ask themselves, will it be ready for use in Afghanistan?, what will it do for us in Afghanistan that is not already being done by other platforms?, then get out the budget ax.

Byron Skinner

Gas Passer, you are spot on. Maximum fuel per square foot of ramp space is the Employment tanker’s strength. You also keenly noted that both offerings are wide body aircraft and can offer well in excess of the part-time cargo lifting needs of the next multi-role tanker. Just look at how the KC-10 is used. It was bought as the next multi-role tanker transport, yet it has never emerged as a serious box hauler…but rather a Deployment tanker. Our military needs both. We’re replacing our Employment tanker, the KC-135, so it only makes sense to buy the best Employment tanker in the mix…thus max fuel per sq. ft. of ramp gets you the most capability per boom. And in the US Air Force’s aerial refueling business, booms in the sky is what they need. The proof is in their historical tanker use data, which shows KC-135s delivering ~60k lbs of fuel per mission at less than 1000 NM radius. Both KC-X offerings can blow that away. So let’s be careful how much overkill we buy or we’ll be trying to park school buses in our garages to take our 2.5 kids to soccer games.

Also too there Old P the 767 is a 20 year plus old airframe. They will be issues of parts and stuff like that. Least the A300 is newer airframe. Amazing how the military will use OLD AIRFRAMES for their most important tankers. The only new cargo aircraft is Boeing C-17 which almost looks like a C-141 on steriods. Other than that all the other aircraft are over 20 years old.

Wonder how long it would take for the Boeing lover to say something. You know what is going to happen when the WTC also rules that Boeing has been getting subsidies from the government whether it be local, state or Federal. Will that change the picture?

Hey guys you all seem to forget this is a “KC, Cargo Tanker”, If the Air Force only wants a Tanker then change the designation to a “K”. That is what the KC-135 is. You do not see it hauling cargo that much. If this is to be a true “KC” aircraft they need to look at the whole spectrum from fuel to cargo not just the fuel. Until they do that this “KC” is a farse it is only a “K” aircraft

You have absolutely no clue what you are talking about.

KC does not mean ‘Cargo Tanker’

The KC-135 originally had NO cargo requirement, but limited ‘cargo’ capability was later added.

So you would have all aging tankers fall out of the sky? Is that what it will take to get replacements? Pilots and crew dead in Afghanistan because their decades old aircraft should have been retired years ago but wasn’t due to penny pinching and politics in Washington?

Also we need the F-35 more than ever because as you said our current air-fleet is getting a ton of use over Afghanistan and will wear out faster for it. We need to get our plans for the USAF back on track, that means more fighters, tankers, and cargo aircraft in the coming years.

“KC” stands for Kerosene Cargo. A bit of nostalgia for all the tanker aficionados out there.

Simple matter of fact. They can’t respond to the facts so they attack the messenger.

You don’t know that the WCT is going to rule against the US.

Besides what does the ‘counter-suite’ have to do with the 767?

William,can you name one instance for me where a KC-135 has fallen out of the sky in the recent conflict?The majority of these aircraft are going through a five year PDM program which will allow them to fly safely for approx 25 more years.

Rule against Boeing. There is a counter-suite that says Boeing gets tax breaks which amounts to subides from the government and the WTO might rule against Boeing

hey, I have an idea, seeing as how theres lots of B-52s kicking around, why don’t we convert some of those into aerial refuelers? it would save alot of money and I think Boeing would really like to see an order for more B-52s coming from the DoD and also the B-52 has no end of service date in sight, so why not like standardize that aspect and ease some of the stress of the logistics guys, you know, make things more effiecient


Just wanted to put a face to the discussion. This is who will pay for the corruption


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