Gates ‘Very Hopeful’ of Two Tanker Bids

Gates ‘Very Hopeful’ of Two Tanker Bids

It’s a bit mushy, but Defense Secretary Robert Gates said today that he is “very hopeful” that we will have two competitors” responding to the final tanker RFP.

When I asked Gates during today’s press conference when the final RFP would be out, he wouldn’t go beyond saying, “very soon.” Rumors are that it may well come out this week. Gates said he thought the final RFP would offer a “very fair” competition. In his response, Gates noted pointedly that this is an Air Force competition. Perhaps not surprisingly, he didn’t reiterate his commitment to practicing vigorous oversight of the program even though he handed acquisition authority back to the Air Force.

During the day, another “grassroots” tanker organization was announced, this one committed to creating “American jobs” by making sure both Boeing and Northrop Grumman get business. The new group, with the catchy name of Build Them Both, was announced as the governor from Boeing — er, Washington — was holding forth at the National Press Club with some of his fellow state executives to promote a rather different vision as leaders of the U.S. Tanker 2010 Coalition.

The Build Them Both website offered this punchy argument for awarding the contract to both Northrop and to Boeing:

“We’ve heard it before, we’ll hear it again. Building two tankers makes no sense. It’s too expensive. It’ll require two training programs, two maintenance programs, two everything and it’s just too much.

“That would be a great argument were it not for the fact that the Air Force plan, all along, has not been to order two different tankers but three!

“The current tanker competition is called KC-X. The Pentagon has clearly stated that it also intends to hold a KC-Y and KC-Z competition in the future with the results being Air Force ownership of three completely different tanker aircraft. So, the only change Build Them Both is really proposing is to build the KC-X and KC-Y tankers at the same time.”

What was Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire’s counterargument at the press club? “Awarding the refueling tanker contract to Boeing will provide work for 40,000 to 50,000 people all across the country at a time when the national economy is still struggling mightily,” he said. “Boeing has a long history of making great tankers and is ready to start with these today. Boeing has the facilities, the technical expertise and the experienced work force to get the job done.”

Gregoire is joined in his efforts by Mark Parkinson of Kansas, Jodi Rell of Connecticut, Chet Culver of Iowa, John Baldacci of Maine, Jay Nixon of Missouri, Ted Kulongoski of Oregon and Gary Herbert of Utah, governors all.

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FYI the governer of Washington is a women

What a minute. Mr Gates wants two Tanker bids? Is this the same Mr Gates that is trying to terminate the alternate engine for the F35? The same Mr Gates that does not support competition for the F35’s propulsion system? Mr Gates, avoid another F35 fiasco and “Build Them Both”.

Washington State Governor “Chris Gregoire” who the author refers to as “he” and “his” is actually “Christine Gregoire”. A simple fact check by the author would have revealed that embarassing error.

Good afternoon folks:It will be the best bet if all this folks work in harmony together ‚the end result would be time and life and money saver for US . Competition is not good at this time , ‚we are in very critical time zone either we do it now or tomorrow would be late other countries like china and russia they are progressing as fast as they can to reach to us .The best is not to lose the time and be ahead of all .Trueley yours

Hey it does not matter what the Air Force wants, if “the DICK’ becomes the head of the position left by Murtha then Boeing will get it all, he will make sure of that. The only fair way is doing like the pentagon did with the advanced fighter, a fly off. Bring your plane to the table and see what it will really do. Also based on Boeings history with the Japanese and Italian tankers they will be overbudget and behind schedule or do like Lockheed did with the ACS contract after they won it, Change planes because they found out their frankentanker would not hack it

Having two companies BID on the proposal is not the same as AWARDING it to two companies. They want two companies to BID in order to negotiate the best price. Gates has always been against awarding contracts to two companies

Talk about over budget and delayed. Have you checked out EADS tanker for Australia? Over budget and way behind schedule. And don’t even get started on the A400M transport!


Do not blame the AIRFORCE for this bid process, This comes directely from union power in the WHITE HOUSE AND GATES . Just wait until they give our job on the new stealth destroyer away from MOBILE AL.


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