Boeing Courts Possible KC-46A Tanker Buyers

Boeing Courts Possible KC-46A Tanker Buyers

PARIS — Boeing Co. has begun courting potential foreign buyers of the KC-46A refueling tanker it’s developing for the U.S. Air Force, company officials said.

The Chicago-based company has already had discussions with several customers about beginning deliveries of the aircraft in 2017 or 2018, according to Chris Raymond, vice president of business development and strategy for Boeing’s defense, space and security unit, and Jeff Kohler, vice president of international business development for the unit.

“There are discussions going on with a number of people,” Raymond said during a June 16 press conference at the company’s Paris office before the start of the Paris Air Show. “There are some initial product, program briefings and stuff that have been coordinated with the Air Force that we’re now using.”

He said it’s too early to name the interested countries, only that they’re in the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific region.

The refueling tanker is based on Boeing’s 767, a twin-engine jet airliner. The Air Force in 2011 selected Boeing over European Aeronautic Defence & Space Co. to develop the military transport version. The program is estimated to cost $52 billion for a total of 179 planes, according to a Government Accountability Office report from March.

Boeing is under contract to deliver 18 aircraft by August 2017, according to the document. The company can’t begin sales to foreign buyers until that happens, Kohler said.

“Job No. 1 is to deliver that first tranche to the U.S. Air force,” he said. The final aircraft is due by 2027.

The company is participating in discussions with potential customers in full coordination with the service’s program office, based at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio, Kohler said. The service has handled technical details during conversations “with several of the key customers,” he said.

In the GAO report, government auditors found the cost of developing the first four planes will exceed the contract ceiling price of $4.9 billion. They also determined that Boeing already used the vast majority of a reserve budget for development risks, even though five years’ worth of work remains.

“Significant use of these funds early in a program may indicate problems,” the report states.

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“‘Significant use of these funds early in a program may indicate problems,’ the report states.”

Ya think?

Boeing’s small and increasingly strained engineering workforce are being pulled in too many different directions at once. Just on the large airframe side of the house, they have to (a) polish the 737MAX into a reasonably competitive offering vs. the A320NEO, (b) get the ambitious 777X concept moving, © clean up the underperforming 748, and (d) keep the 787 Nightmareliner from again bursting into flames in flight.

All this and get the KC-46A out the door on time, on budget and meeting contract spec?

Something’s gotta give.

I don’t know where you get the idea that they have a small and strained workforce, but I figured I’d offer counter-points to yours.

(a) The 737MAX isn’t any more of a challenge than the A320NEO, so it really shouldn’t have a higher risk for issues.
(b) The 777X is also moving on schedule.
© The 747–8 is being hurt by a low market for very large aircraft. In recent years, both the A380 and this aircraft have been selling badly. The A380 has a lead due to being on the market years before, and having over 600 747-400s still in service isn’t helping.
(d) That was a Li-Ion battery issue. Li-Ion batteries aren’t an exact science, and that has been resolved. Saying it “Bursted into flames” is dishonest. There was a couple of battery fires, but no other damage to the craft, and no harm to the passengers.

And the KC-46A? It’s a modified version of the already built KC-767, which have served their operators well.

Torquewrench, is this really true? I know that the short-sighted, short term profit over long term viability types of CEO’s love to fire every engineer just to increase their own take home pay (ballooned by right wing tax cuts), but I myself am very concerned about Boeing. They seem to lose parity with Airbus on a daily basis. The thing ‘dumb’ Americans don’t understand is, when you lose your CIVILIAN airplane manufacturing and designing capabilities, guess what, you lose the capabilities for military gear as well. That’s national security right there. Can you say a bit more about Boeing engineering capabilities? I really can’t find anything on the internet. Thanks.

As precedent, look at American shipbuilding. Asides from the military, and without the Jones Act, there isn’t that much left of the American merchant marine.

Boeing’s lineup is:
777-bigger 767
787-intended to replace 767

Airbus is tending to the
and R&D for A350

True. Insane how a country that was gifted everything after WW2 (gifted by hard work, sacrifice and misfortune of others), huge shipbuilding industry, huge aircraft industry, automobile etc, it just gave it all away. Like a junkie that’s high and doesn’t think about tomorrow or the day after. I mean any country who has all that NEEDS a long term industrial strategy, on how to keep it all, or at least keep large levels of it. Nobody stays on top forever, but going from building every 3 out of 4 ships in the world, to 0 out of 4 in a few decades is mismanagement. Same is sadly probably happening with aircraft. At least the auto industry seams to be coming back, sustainably. I mean outsourcing highly skilled engineers by private parties on the one hand, and the government not funding education enough to keep making new engineers, isn’t that pretty much treason. I mean look at it this way: other countries are spening tens of billions of dollars, trying to get even a tiny slice of the action, while the US government doesn’t even care if US companies give away their entire pie. That’s just idiotic.

Bear in mind that the Chinese require local partnership to make/sell products in their home country: it’s an effective way of keeping their companies operational even when foreigners are doing business in their country; rather than having employees work as peasants for a new foreign company.

Boeing has all but admitted they knew that the tanker would bust the development budget, and they are picking up the tab on that overage once the reserve is depleted as they intended to do. They believe it’s worth losing money on the development contract for all the money they’ll make over the life of the program from follow-on contracts and export orders … which explains why they are so interested in securing export orders as early as possible.

We didn’t exactly give it all away. It got cheaper to build ships in South Korea and China and to scrap them in Bangladesh, India and Pakistan. The other industries building cheap widgets moved once mechanization allowed for less skilled workforces, or less workers in the first place. It’s been generally good for the third world since it allowed for an infusion of capital from the rich countries to their countries, lifting them out of poverty. And the first world would’ve been happy to outsource the menial work if there was work for our menials to do. And there aren’t enough jobs to go around. Economic theory has always suggested that the human labor could be recapitalized to do other stuff; but when it can’t, it sits idle, and there’s an opportunity cost for America for every job outsourced when that worker cannot be re-utilized. Of course, that doesn’t stop the outsourcing, now does it?

It’s all about what you value. Let’s be honest, Japan and Europe for examble build much more ships than America, also commercial barges, especially Japan. Japan’s average wage is probably much higher than the US, and they have ‘socialist’ healthcare etc. So it’s not just cost. And talking about ‘government industrial policy’; that shouldn’t take into account profits. There are always ways to be found, not 100% capitalist, not 100% communist etc. The government could have subsidized commercial shipping, trainbuilding etc. I mean your government allowed GM etc, to destroy streetcars all over your country. Even small cities had quite sophisticated rail networks, all killed to push a few more cars. Where did that get you? I think it’s not so much ‘absent’ government, as it is bribed government that shuts it’s eyes and allows all that to flow away for the sake of a few extra pennies in the bag for the CEO’s and shareholders. What’s the end game? They hoard all that, while an entire industrialized nation is robbed of everything? Service economy doesn’t exist, it’s only possible with a strong fundament that lies in manufacturing. America has for about 2 decades been able to cover that farce up, with a huge financial industry, giving away loans like pedo’s give away candy, but that curtain has dropped. Now is the question are US politicians going to do something about it? I guess you could take a good look at the Chinese, in how to ‘RE-industrialize’, by forcing joint ventures etc. Bare in mind, I don’t talk about making tshirts or clothing in the US, but come on, billion dollar ships? Or multi million dollar trainsets? That’s not low-cost, outsourcable manufacturing. It’s pure greed to outsource that.

The real problem with the Americans is they can’t make up their minds. It’s either Capitalism with all its faults, or nothing. They are simply not able to work out that neither pure Capitalism nor pure Communism is of any use without being tempered to Socialism. It removes the extremes of both ideologies and makes them work for both, the workers and the bosses. Europeans are well aware of this and it works well. Alas, Americas poorly educated masses are brainwashed to the point that they believe 2 weeks annual leave and a healthcare system that millions of them can’t afford is better than 5 weeks annual leave and decent affordable care. The fact that 1 % of Americans own 43 % of America’s wealth and 80% own 7% should tell that poor lot that they are continuously taken to the cleaner.

Boeing Courts Possible KC-46A Tanker Buyers.mht

Bingo. And the politicians ‘know’ because it’s not that difficult. It only requires looking back a couple of decades. They’re bribed. Year after year, each little bit of legislation hammers away at any little ‘social’ bond you have. Last two left: SS and Medicare, and they’re after it hard. Guess what, the programs work, and have kept 10’s of millions of Americans out of poverty over the decades. Always read yourself, never take the word of politicians. Anyway, let’s hope what happened to GM and Chrysler can be done to some other areas of industry in the US. Perhaps when a more cooperative congress is installed, or with a next president.

The KC-46A is basically just a KC-767I with a 787 avionics panel, modified KC-10 boom and other non-major modifications. Compared to the 747–8 upgrade, it most probably needs just 20% engineering done on the 748. I feel Boeing is just gaming the Pentagon to give cause to the price they are charging. It’s a mature platform already.

If this turns out to be a double post I apologize in advance.

The real problem with the US is that they have lowered their trade barriers in the idiotic hope that the rest of their trade partners would follow suit. When these so called partners acted in their own self interest and took advantage of the situation you get what we have in the US today, as someone above stated we literally gave it away. Japan, China, and South Korea are some of the worst offenders but Europe has done this as well. An example of this is US tariffs for cars made in Europe and exported to the US is 3.5%. The European tariff for cars made in the US and exported to Europe is 10%. That is but one of many examples how trade partners have taken advantage of the naïve policy of the US lowering first in the hope others would follow. This book gives the story from WWII on how the US traded access to the US market to help fight the cold war Opening America’s Market: U.S. Foreign Trade Policy Since 1776 (Luther Hartwell Hodges Series on Business, Society…

US Trade Policy, Another Example Of Our Government’s Icompetence

Sorry, I have to disappoint you, America’s industrial demise began in the mid 1960 ‘s when Japan and Europe started to export quality products again on a grand scale. All you have to do is look at your ongoing astronomical external trade deficits since that time. Both the Japanese and Europeans caught you sleeping and showed you how its done. Yet, the greatest self-inflicted damage the US suffers from is its insistence to use medieval measurements the rest of the world has discarded long ago. Metric countries are not interested in thumbs and feet products because they do not fit into the metric world. America tried to force the world to use its feet and thumb anachronism after 1945, but it backfired big time. Apart from forcing he world to fly in silly feet it only hurt itself on an ongoing and forever worsening basis. With metric China taking eventually over, America will be sadly pretty irrelevant in this world.

Complaining about our industrial problems is one thing, but blaming it on the imperial system makes no sense at all.

A couple quick points.
1. Its hard to take you serious when it is obvious from your last line that you are anti-American.
2. You didn’t offer any facts to back your opinions. I am not really interested in your opinion if not supported by some facts.
3. I am going to have to agree with the guy below William C1, your idea that our industrial demise can be traced back to not using the metric system makes me further question the merit of your opinion.
4. I will at least agree that the reemergence of the Japanese and European economies played some role in our industrial problems. However America competed just fine before the war so what changed? Oh yeah, it was the American trade policy.
5. You are certainly entitled to disagree with me but if you don’t even bother to refute the evidence I used to support my claim that it has been our trade policy that has led us to our current problems I can’t take you serious because once again your just giving me your opinion which doesn’t mean much to me.

how’s that european economy doing?

Right on. Concern European.

This isn’t about the economy. I’m talking about industria policy and capability. We here at least get involved with what we see as ‘strategic’ areas of the economy, whereas the US seems to not care. Here you have the US military developing capabilities with Boeing, NASA, Darpa etc to build composite aircraft in the 1980’s onward (b-2) etc. Then you just let Boeing outsource composite technology to japan (commercial aircraft 787). That’s so stupid I would hit that Boeing ceo with a hammer. We in Europe invest in our industry, which is why we can build the a380, a400m and now a350 etc. The thing is, you need to keep the skillset of the engineers up. You can’t do that if you outsource. This isn’t about the economy, it’s about outsourcing/not caring about your industrial capabilities. Let’s see, back in the 50’s 60’s and 70’s you guys designed top notch fighter jets and they came to frutition quickly and on budget (more or less). Now, we see the opposite. Yes, technology is more advanced now, but so should the skills of the engineers be. You used to have an army of smart engineers. It seems now you only have a few, trying to supplement them with h-1b’s. I don’t think having chinese/indian engineers on visas designing f-22’s and f-35’s might be the smartest thing to do. You need to have home grown engineers. Invest in education and develop an industrial policy.

It’s not a big deal, since every scientist and engineer learns SI. I’m just curious if products are in practice engineered to SI as well (I would assume they are?)

Of course, the half-baked workaround to fractional imperial units is to use decimalized imperial units. 0.01 of an inch instead of 1/10″ you say? Or the /16, /32, /64 or /128 of an inch? Harhar.

In case anyone remembers the Mars Climate Orbiter:

“The primary cause of this discrepancy was engineering error. Specifically, the flight system software on the Mars Climate Orbiter was written to take thrust instructions using the metric unit newtons (N), while the software on the ground that generated those instructions used the Imperial measure pound-force (lbf).“

Not as strong as ours, but for their size, they’re still retaining quite a bit of their heavy industry (Germany at least, can’t speak to the demise of England/Ireland’s shipbuilding industry)

German industry is still going strong. Can’t speak to the heavy industrial capability of Greece any more than anyone would talk about the heavy industries in Idaho.

Concerned European, I agree that we in the U.S. need to pursue industrial policy with respect to our defense industrial base. However, the examples of the A380 and A400 are probably not the best examples to cite. The A380’s last reported break-even, before Airbus hushed it up, was 450 units. They are nowhere close; less than 300 have been sold, despite being being on sale for over a decade. You have no fighter aircraft in development. You have no drones in development worth marketing. The A400M is being propped up by orders from Germany, France, and the UK; the UK cut back, Germany wants to cut 20, and even the French are talking about reducing their buy. The A400M may turn out to be a competent transport, but the timing for international sales couldn’t have been worse. That said, I believe the A350 will be a sterling success–at least the –900 model. It appears the A350-1000 will be facing serious competition come Dubai Airshow and the A350-800 has gone from almost 200 orders to less than 100–not exactly a ringing endorsement. Don’t forget, “outsourcing” is not an American invention. Look at the Chinese COMAG 919; its almost a carbon copy of the A320. Airbus set up a production line in China and the Chinese apparently had no more respect for Airbus’ IP than for the high speed trains.

You’re right about our shortage of engineers, but there are hopeful signs now that MBA’s and lawyers are a dime a dozen (even where I live there’s a host billboards advertising “divorce attorneys”–a sure sign that the bottom feeders are cutting their own throats!

Industrial policy can work, short to mid term, in some sectors. Defense is a prime candidate for industrial policy. However, with the exception of Germany which has benefited enormously from the euro, the rest of the euro zone seems to be falling into an abyss of unemployment. I’ll take what we have here. By the way, if we move to close our defense market, guess where the loudest protests will come from?

What we need to do is reform our procurement laws and the “Buy American” act. The tanker competition, which pitted EADS against Boeing, was a wake up call. EADS is not an American corporation; they never should have been allowed to bid as prime. Fortunately, they didn’t get the contract, but if the reckless Bush Administration had had its way, we wouldn’t be talking about the KC-46.

Technically we can buy whatever product we want from overseas, provided an American company can be partnered with to do most of the manufacturing domestically.

Sure, that makes you a 3rd world nation (not literally). What kind of superpower cannot 1. design, 2. manufacture it’s OWN nessecities? I mean Holland can buy a380’s or nuclear aircraft carriers. It’s about how much money you have. That makes you a ‘taker’, not a ‘maker’, which would be a very sad day to see the US be.

Aurora, I see your points vis a vis a380, a400 etc. The thing I’m concerned about isn’t the profitability/viability of the programs. It’s the ‘possibility’ to design, engineer and manufacture them. The US made the c-5 in the 60’s, something the whole world was in shock of back then, same with the 747. The concern I have is, can Boeing of Lockheed even design or build something so big and modern any more? Re-engining a 50 year old c-5 or c-130 is one thing, penning one from a clean sheet of paper is another.

About China and Comac, I think you don’t see my point. See, the US is coming from a point where they HAD (maybe still have) the capabilities, and is going downward (capability wise). China has NOT those capabilities, so they MUST indeed work with western companies to get there. Thus the ‘insourcing’. However, their goal is very firm: get to the point where they can do it all on their own! That’s why they’re graduation millions of engineers yearly. You see one country fighting it’s way up, and another being quite impartial as to whether it’s losing those capabilities. Short sighted military leaders/aquisition people don’t really see the dangers untill they see every program becoming 4x over budget and time. Why? The designs aren’t really THAT ambitious, it’s just that when you laid dormant for years and decades your design and engineering capabilities, it becomes that much harder to ever restart it. Mission creep is only a small part of it, mostly used as an excuse. But when a huge nation’s largest defense contractors can’t even design a sea-going IFV, it gets pretty fatal. It’s not US bashing, I’m just trying to highlight the problem, and maybe get some info about how the situation really is.

Agreed. It puts us in the same position as countries like 1970’s Iran. Armed with good hardware, but once someone rips the rug out from under the military, it’s back to suicide children clearing minefields.

“The US made the c-5 in the 60’s, something the whole world was in shock of back then”

You may be exaggerating a little, or putting a little pro-American slant into it. Objectively, the Soviets overcame incredible hurdles to catch up with American military parity, and also built incredible aircraft that stunned the world for their audacity relative to their technology base. But that is neither here nor there. If anything, it illustrates that “great powers”; regardless of their wealth, become great by their possessions /and/ their constructs.

I think anyone from Europe who can drive down to a European city that started as a humble Roman legionary fort, and recall the first European Union was SPQR, who built magnificent roads, used alumina-concrete that is still better than modern silica concrete and remembers that legions from Spain went to Britain and then Syria on foot or by sail understands the nature of what makes a power truly great.

Concerned European, I think we agree on the viability of industrial policy. We might not agree on a broad application to all sectors of the economy, but on defense issues certainly. The U.S. suffered from myopic management for last two decades where quarter-to-quarter operating results ruled the roost. There was no long term thought to the implications of wholesale outsourcing of jobs to Asia or Central America, since ” increasing shareholder wealth” was paramount. It was profoundly stupid and short sighted. It still is.

You may not recall my impassioned arguments against allowing EADS to bid on the tanker as prime, or against selecting the A330MRTT on the grounds that we must bolster our industrial base. I don’t care if its protectionism, industrial policy, socialism, whatever. This was and remains a key capability vital to power projection. It NEVER should have been competed. (Yes, I know the sordid Darleen D. story and know how we got there, but at some point Rumsfield should have told John McCain and his aides to take a hike, but that’s another story.…)

There are encouraging areas of progress, particularly with regard to missile defense and unmanned vehicles. Unfortunately, we are almost entirely reliant on foreign sources for the chips that drove many of these systems.

I’m hopeful that the energy revolution and high transport costs will force many of these MBA mental-giant-captains-of-industry to re-think their models and start “in sourcing” high tech and manufacturing positions. Ironically, given the Chinese propensity to steal intellectual property, they may be our biggest allies in this “re-think”. I personally would love to see scholarships and incentives for graduates to pursue math and engineering, rather than business and law.

Well, I guess a policy would be beneficial to any sector of the economy, but that’s another story. There is a link however. If there is no ‘commercial’ industrial base, forget about a long term ‘defense’ base. A country who cannot build normal aircraft, will not be able to build fighter aircraft. A country who can’t build ships, will have increasing difficulty building aircraft carriers. It’s the circle of industrial life. Because the ‘lull’ between military orders, means a sapping away of design talent. Now, those a330mrtt, a400m, contracts, I agree with you. Think about it: the French and Germans bend over backwards to try to give their home companies even the tiniest of contracts, you Americans would be the dumbest people on earth to award a 200 large aircraft contract to a foreign company. But the sad part is, Boeing used to use those military contracts (partial subsidies they are too), and harnessed them and used the knowledge to build great commercials (707 onward). Now the dumb wasp mba types outsourced almost everything, sapping worldwide airline convidence in Boeings ability to build NEW aircraft. Even I can re-engine a 60’s design.
Yes, the cost of shipping is now indeed becoming prohibitive, which is why many sectors are ‘reshoring’. That’s good. But now you guys seem to be losing ‘top end/high tech’ levels of work, and bringing back the mid level stuff. It’s sad really, in our countries, when a CEO even mentions outsourcing high tech stuff, he gets kicked out. Forced by the government if needed. If that’s socialism, then great. Now I don’t condone the French, who take it up to a whole new leven, even labeling the manufacturing of appliances as ‘strategic’, but there should be a good middle way in between. The US gvernment needs to implement more stringent oversight over the country’s CEO’s. Yes, you still build nuclear subs etc, but when there isn’t a single industry left, you start looking like the old USSR: a hollow, poor country, with a few shining new submarines in it’s decayed docks…

You mean the Germany that is keeping its industrial base up by shipping its cars to America?

Japan, Germany and South Korean are all doing well because we let them in! Not just because they made better products. If we didn’t open the floodgates, we have more American manufacturing and a middle class. Instead, we intentionally exported jobs under the old classical economist thinking about comparative advantage. The problem is that all advanced societies “top out” on manufacturing and consumerism and have to figure out how to employe all the employable. That doesn’t just require an industrial policy, it requires closing the doors to most imports.

Yup. Take Volkswagen:

For now, there are two factories in the US, plus one in Mexico.

In Germany, there are sixteen factories. Eight in China, two in India.

GM has 47 factories in the US (and amusingly, 31 more closed since 2000) , with five in Mexico. Data suggests no factories in China, which seems wrong (also, Cadillac is building a new one in China). And of course, data doesn’t suggest the size of the factory operations, so consolidated operations (fewer, better integrated factories) would be less numerous than fewer, widely dispersed factories.

Add to it that people seem to “like” German stuff. Take the Benz AMG’s, the M-series and shiny H&K guns. Mmm, guns. (Though to be sold to the US gov, they have to be made here).

It would be foolish to act as if there was no merit to what you said because as I would readily admit there is some truth to it yet you conveniently keep forgetting quite a bit about the draw backs of an industrial policy. The perfect example is the 747 vs the concorde. Boeing pursued something similar to the concorde in the 60’s while the US government picked up the tab. When that funding dried up Boeing mothballed the concept because it did not make good business sense. Europe built the concorde and it was triumph of aviation engineering but a complete disaster economically. Boeing built the 747 because once the govt money dried up they had to produce based on market realities and it was run away success. Fast forward to the early 21st. century and Airbus decided to build the A380 not because the market wanted a new super jumbo but because European govts. wanted another prestige project and threw subsidies to Airbus. Once again the A380 is losing money just like the concorde did only not quite as bad because it has killed sales of the 747. Bottom line is the US should have followed through with the WTO case against Airbus but probably backed down because US govt. bailed out the auto industry.

Yeah, EADS is not an American company, yet the US Army is buying EADS-designed Lakota helicopters somehow being manufactured right here in the US by said not-American company.

MOWAG was not an American company, yet somehow via General Dynamics, has managed to sell thousands of its Piranha-derived LAVs and Strykers to the US military for the last 3 decades (courtesy of GDLS becoming yet another multi-national defense giant).

FN was not an American company, yet has sold machine guns to the US for another quarter century.

OT Melara was not an American company, yet thanks to licensing, we still armed our ships with their 76mm naval gun.
Bofors is not an American company, yet thru its parent BAE, the US buys its 57mm gun now for arming our ships.

…The list goes on and on about umpteen designs where it was deemed OK to not buy from an “American company”…

What, an EADS plant in Alabama?
So then, Alabama is somewhere else, like how there’s a Georgia over there near them Russia-lands?

You should read Pat Buchanan’s editorials from 2002–2008, that decried the administration policies that encouraged US manufacturers to move operations to China, which included huge transfers of dual-use technologies, hard-won manufacturing techniques, millions of US jobs, and the tax base that went with it.

All of this was in return for short-term profits of the private sector, while it has since facilitated China’s military build-up, their ever increasing diplomatic belligerence, and left millions of Americans that were previously paying taxes on welfare, food stamps, and unemployment.

If the US fails to protect its industrial base, we’re in serious trouble — and its already compromised US national security in a major way (not to mention, the security of our allies, and every other nation in the region).

Bingo, how sad it is that the powers that be, have convinced hard working (red blooded) Americans, that those scumbags who call themselves ‘conservative’ politicians are actually the ones who ruin your country, and call the only guy who tries to do something about it a socialist. Guess what, a socialist wouldn’t allow that much outsoucring, it’s the Grinch who does it, after pulling a veil over dumb people’s eyes. Investing in American military hardware nowadays is a money pit, not much return. The last time you people really could make something from the ground up was the late 80’s, early 90’s (c-17, and 50/50 for the f22). Nowadays, it’s pretty pathetic really. I just hope when the point arrives, and that ALL hardware you procure is foreign, the people wake up and say let’s disband the military. Importing 500bn a year in military products? That has to be a new low in civilization’s history. A superpower makes it’s own things (not knock down European products who a few hillbillies screw together). I’m talking the 40’s 50’s and 60’s, when you build your shit yourselves. Not able anymore? Stop buying military products, and invest that money into creating the ability to do so once again. I mean even the m1 mbt has a Rheinmetall gun :(

Good stuff but you missed on point, the reason why Boeing is courting other buyers is so they can recoup any loses that they have incurred or will incur in building the USAF KC-46 tanker. They figure some of the richer countires will not mind paying for the slight overrun that might occurr. Look at what happen when they built the Japanses and Italian tankers

Just a thought

“any loses that they have incurred or will incur in building the USAF KC-46″

Isn’t it all cost-plus, so loss is pretty much not a problem? Export customers are used to keep a line open and make more money, since customers are usually skittish about new products, but less so about buying Off-The-Shelf…unless it’s America. America likes new stuff.

Someone has to get the short end of the stick.

Europe was stuck with NATO standards that tended to favor the United States. .303? Bye. .280 Enfield? Bye. Have some .30–06, wait, no, 7.62*51, wait, no, 5.56 in STANAG magazines. Use our 60mm, 81mm, 120mm mortars. Use our 105, 155mm artillery. Use our 105, 120mm (except the Brits, who used rifled 120mm) tank gun rounds lest you have supply difficulty when the Soviets come.

That said, at least we aren’t using a German tank (MBT-70 anyone?)

Yes, but the m1 has (arguably the most important and difficult part of a tank) a German gun. The rheinmetall l-44. And indeed, the US has huge influence in NATO, since it’s the biggest contributor. I’m only talking about the ability to design and make superior product.

The gun isn’t all that is shared. You might notice when putting the Leopard 2 and M1 next to each other they are mighty similar. That isn’t a coincidence, both are direct derivatives of the failed MBT-70 project as mentioned, and were developed in tandem. (Seriously, both vehicles were entered into both countries’ drive-off for the contracts.)

I also had to look up the history of tank guns in NATO countries post-WW2 just to make sure I didn’t miss anything.

After WW2 the Brits went from an 84mm to a 105mm gun (Royal Ordnance L7); and that propagated to Germany and the United States (with an L7-based gun used for Stryker MGS)

After 105 was the Rheinmetall 120mm (L44), which went to Leopard 2, then to upgun the Abrams, Japan, etc.; the 120mm was lengthened in the ‘90s (L55, as a development fork in parallel with the 140mm gun, also Rheinmetall).

I’m pretty sure that American artillery still use American guns (except the M777?); but it’s curious that we felt the best tank gun was a British, and then a German design.

Boeing is losing its technical expertise. The retirement rate for senior workers has taken its toll. There is no process for the engineers to work part time, if they are close to retirement. They will state that there is a part time policy, but in reality, it is very hard to implement. If you believe productivity models, ab experienced engineer is 5x more productive than a college engineer. It is bargain, because the salary differential is only 2x.

This thread got hijacked by a lot of political angling by various posters. I’m sure all well meant, and I enjoy a good political joust every now and then. back to the actual article, Boeing is courting foreign clients. Sounds nice. The USAF is still waiting for aircraft number 1. Against this back drop, Airbus has delivered the 23rd and 24th A330 MRTT. Airbus’ production line has 3 aircraft in their final third of the construction process and 5 more in the first 2 stages of construction. If the original contract(won by Airbus) would have stood up against Union and Congressional interference, USAF aircraft #4 would be rolling off the Mobile, Alabama assembly line any minute now. Just saying.……


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