Boeing Prez Helo Draws Criticism

Boeing Prez Helo Draws Criticism

Presidential helicopters stand as a talisman, embodying the nuclear mission of the armed forces, America’s technological prowess and our government’s nearly religious concern for presidential safety.

Buying a foreign helicopter would seem downright unpatriotic to many Americans. But the government decided to buy just such a helicopter last time, the ill-fated VH-71. True, Lockheed Martin was the prime contractor and thus it is legally an American aircraft, but the first batch of helicopters was built in Europe by AgustaWestland, a Finmeccanica company. Now Boeing has announced that it is buying the intellectual property rights to the AW101, built by Agusta.

The Agusta bird is “a three-engine, medium-lift helicopter with combat-proven performance, serving with distinction in Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan. More than 150 aircraft are in service with five NATO militaries and Japan, and the aircraft was selected for the previous presidential helicopter program…” Boeing notes.


The Chicago company is clearly positioning itself to avoid charges that it is buying a foreign product that has received government subsidies after years of lambasting Northrop and EADS for doing just that. “This license will give Boeing full intellectual property, data and production rights for the aircraft in support of the VXX program. Because of this arrangement, the aircraft will be a Boeing aircraft, built by Boeing personnel at one of its U.S. facilities,” Boeing said in its statement today announcing the deal. During a call with reporters today Boeing’s VP for rotorcraft, Phil Dunford, said “this is not a partnership… This will be a Boeing built airplane. We don’t know where it will be built.…” He did make clear the aircraft would be built in the U.S.

Asked about whether hefty British subsidies provided for the launch of the helicopter should affect perceptions of the program, Dunford said “we are not aware of any outstanding loans or grants at this time.” He added that he believed the payments have been paid back.

But all this lends credence to defense consultant Loren Thompson’s point in his blog today that: “Boeing’s bid could create some embarrassing moments for both itself and Lockheed Martin. Lockheed Martin spent years arguing that the AgustaWestland airframe was superior to the Sikorsky product it now supports, and a 2008 review by Pentagon policymakers came to the same conclusion. So Lockheed is likely to see its own words used against it in the upcoming competition.”

And EADS North America certainly did not wait long to fire away. In one of the craftier moves we’ve seen this year, they took the occasion of Boeing’s announcement to call on the company to cease its “shrill rhetoric” about international competition and to praise their tanker competitor for having, “openly acknowledged the contribution that international teams, products and platforms make to U.S. national security. For several years, Boeing and its allies have been harshly critical of the participation of EADS North America in the KC-X tanker competition. With this announcement, we now expect Boeing to cease its shrill rhetoric and finally allow the KC-X competition to focus on the merits of the tanker offerings.”

An industry source noted on background that AgustaWestland’s parent company, Finmeccanica, is majority owned by the Italian government. And this source voiced deep skepticism that Boeing would pay Agusta upfront for all intellectual property when the U.S. government has not yet decided exactly what the requirements will be for the presidential helo. The Analysis of Alternatives being done by the Navy may be done by the end of summer, but that leaves considerable room for doubt about just what platforms should be offered. Boeing is keenly aware of this, having already offered the V-22 and the Chinook for the program, on top of which it is offering the AW101.

And the industry source hoisted Boeing on its own petard claiming that only 35 percent of the subsidies have been repaid and noting Boeing hypocrisy on the question of international partners and subsidies: “They don’t seem to have an issue with it when it comes to their own bottom line.”

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Perhaps DOD should let AgustaWestland bid as prime, just like it did EADS? That will silence the critics, right?

Boeing provides comedy gold

next steps:

-> LM drops sikorsky (as the chance of winning is low)

-> under pressure Boeing drops Augusta and supports Sikorsky to get the better truly american product (only possible with boeings wise leadership)

-> Augusta enters competition alone after some thinking

-> Boeing accuses augusta of being unfairly subsidized and empiriling american military by entrusting an foreign company for, of ALL THINGS to build helicopters for the AMERICAN PRESIDENT, shedding lots of patriotic tears

-> Boeing supports a house bill which would force the evaluation process to consider said subsidies by placing a penalty on the augusta offer or simply forbidding it from participating

-> Boing decries win for the good of America after being handed the contract

gogo Boeing you can do it, may you never cease to entertain me

FROM LOREN THOMPSON: I knew that EADS would jump on Boeing’s licensing of a European helicopter design to make some misleading point about the Air Force tanker competition. In Boeing’s defense,

(1) EH101 really is the best airframe for the mission, unlike the EADS tanker.

(2) The U.S. version of EH101 will be largely built in America, unlike the EADS tanker.

(3) Agusta’s helicopter is not the product of a predator business strategy, unlike the EADS tanker.

It’s really sad when American companies — Sikorsky and Bell Boeing — don’t have the ability to produce a quality product. Just shows you that business has no flag.

Othe rthe other hand, maybe the president should just use his bulletproof limo. Maybe a secret under ground tunnel like a hundred years ago.

Sikorsky can certainly produce a fine product. I think the continued success of the UH-60 family is a testament to that. Yet this presidential helicopter thing is a mess of politics, shifting requirements, and more politics.

I cannnot help but wonder: Exactly how much money does Boeing give Loren Thompson to be a blind apologist for them regardless the degree of hypocracy it may require from him? Come on Thompson — tell us, please??

Why not just use a version of the V-22? US built, Operated by the USMC and henc in their system now, combat proven (sort of), speedy too.

This is al politics. The manufactures are positioning themselves so they can always say it will be an American product build in the USA.
Really sad, its has nothing to do with the best product for the President (yet). It’s al about having options to get the dollars.
It’s time the manufactures will focus again on their products, they can be good. They have proven that enough!

This should have gone to Sickorsky, or any other America company! This is no place for imports. We waste millions every time a new president takes office, redoing the WH to the new prez’s wife’s taste.

(1) Shouldn’t the USAF determine what the best platform for a specific mission is. Isn’t that what the competition is supposed to be about. Let’s hop the the officers attached to the KC-X program don’t share your prejudice and will look at the final data objectively
(2) AW may disagree: “AgustaWestland will keep a role in developing the programme and will be awarded a significant part of the basic helicopter production” http://​www​.agustawestland​.com/​n​e​w​s​/​f​i​n​m​e​c​c​a​n​i​c​a-a
(3) … So because they beat you at your own game, you don’t wanna play anymore??? Boeing has the same access to government cash that Airbus had/has (according to GATT92)

have you seen the youtube of what an Osprey does to a memorial day pick-nick? they’ll have to asphalt the white house lawn

Gentlemen, please! When can we get off the “it’s an American ship” jag! Guys, for time inmemorial, there has never been a national monopoly in the aerospace industry. Most of the components the make up an aircraft are obtained from providers worldwide so this is a non-issue. With respect to the VH-71, the ship was well qualified for the position, having worked the program myself. The problem was serving more than one master and the inevitable scope creep. Although, my sources close to the program say that AW was no picnic to work with and was less than responsive to NAVAIR’s constantly changing requirements. As for Boeing, what can I say?

Oh, Boeing, put a sock in it. You are a miserable program manager and integrator, as most government services and hardware contracts in the last decade show. Can’t keep to the schedule or budget. Have confused, non cost-effective relations with subs. Customers mishandled. And things just don’t work right. Even in your commercial programs. So, why not allow foreign competitors. They just might have superior products. And they also buy billions of defense and commercial craft and systems from the USA. Boeing is not an arm of the government, and has lost its ability to be competitive, while its arrogance and mouth grow bigger, eh?

UH-60s are kickass and it is a shame (As Taxpayer above said), that American companies cannot create quality products. I guess that’s what comes of capitalism when a company (or people) become(s) so money driven. It’s pitiful that Americans KNOW to get a decent car they need to buy German, Swedish, British, etc.

Greed has always been the downfall of man … and in time will bring down the world.

60M pounds is a paltry sum in the context of aircraft development programs. That amount won’t even cover proposal costs for VXX. 60M is about 2% of the A330 subsidy. Although we are haggling over price here, the impact of the EH101 marketing subsidy is trivial. It’s an interesting pundit point but doesn’t appear sufficient to distort the competition.

Hey Bronco, last time I checked, Boeing is an American company. SIkorsky doesn’t have the aircraft for this missionand they know it. I wish they would just acknowledge it, accept it, and let it go. Rather than launching political campaign after campaign to turn a loss into a tie, and wasting billions of OUR tax dollars.

Right on Loren!!! Now if the government would publicly instead of privately our through “sources” acknowledge the same thing. We could get the right aircraft for this mission, instead of trying to jam a square peg into round hole and wasting billions of tax payer dollars because a company lost in a fair fight.

Hopefully we can accomlish it before one of these antique VH-3D’s fails on the job.……and really embarasses the US and DoD.

These helicopters are of Italian design, and even though Boeing is an American company the majority of the money goes back to Europe.
The sales figures SIkorskey’s variant say that it is well suited to this an other missions.
And American president should fly in an American helicopter.

Hard to read bs like this. Boeing will license produce the EH101. European Aeronautic Defense and Space will produce the tanker in partnership with a US defense contractor. European Aeronautic Defense and Space will not be licensing production to a US defense contractor. You can argue at what level Boeing’s license will be but comparing this bid to European Aeronautic Defense and Space’s tanker bid is weak. Emotionally I don’t like the idea of a foreign designed helicopter for the President and that may be enough to not choose the EH101 but this hypocrisy notion and comparison to the tanker bid is drivel.

Interestingly enough, in the latest two competitions between the EH101 and the S-92, those being the UK SAR and Canadian Naval Helo, the S-92 won both times. When you eliminate the ridiculous requirements from the program, which hopefully is being done, the S-92 is as good a fit for the mission as the EH101.

I don’t understand why they don’t just use Osprey’s V-22s at $96.2 million each ? There certainly usless in Afghanistan, except for joy rides. Or perhaps there is such an international demand that they can’t make them fast enough? They are good or for taking down trees in NYC however! http://​www​.kansascity​.com/​2​0​1​0​/​0​5​/​3​1​/​1​9​8​2​3​6​6​/​m​ari

(2) The U.S. version of EH101 will be largely built in America, unlike the EADS tanker.

Isn’t this like arguing that one can only be partially pregnant? As Jerry McGuire always says: “Show me the money”.

Boeing and it’s supporters will argue out of both sides of their mouth for only one reason. They want someone to show them the money. It’s always about the money. Nobody makes a move without the money.

Boeing is not the defense contractor/civil aviation trailblazers of yesteryear. They are a modern publically owned corporation in Chicago that is all about one thing. They want to see the money. William Allen would never have allowed his old company to evolve the way it has. It may have gone out of business, but it never would have become what it is today.

Hey why not the new and improved CH-53? US built, and the prior ones have proven themselves?

TMc For the same reason they dont break out the old tooling and start crankin out brand spankin new KC-135 Airframes with all the new updates to make it a better tanker! It would make way too much sense and it wouldnt cost enough to build unlike the new airframes (both rotary and fixed) of today!

Using the new CH-53K is a good idea.

Better would be a new CH-54(x), based on the CH-53K, with an attached presidential transport module. The separate module could enjoy good isolation from structure borne noise and vibration, well suited to quiet comfortable transport. It could include a ballistic parachute system. The modularity would enable it to be upgraded and replaced separately from the airframe. The CH-54(x) would share logistical support with the CH-53K. And a CH-53K based CH-54(x) could be used in other applications.

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D ahearn you should get your info from better sources. For a new ac the v22is doing awesome. Remember ahearn you need to think out of the bun

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