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Joanne98 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 02:09 PM
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Gates restores Air Force authority in tanker deal
Source: AP

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Wednesday restored the Air Force's authority to select the winner of a $35 billion contract for aerial refueling tankers between Boeing Co. and Northrop Grumman Corp.

Gates last summer stripped the service's ability to award a contract in the wake of a Government Accountability Office report that found the Air Force failed to evaluate both proposals on the same merits.

Northrop, and its partner Airbus parent European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company N.V., beat out rival Boeing for the deal to replace 179 tankers last February. Boeing later successfully protested the award.

The Pentagon "cannot afford the kind of letdowns, parochial squabbles, and corporate food-fights that have bedeviled this effort in the past," Gates said, speaking at the Air Force Association trade show in National Harbor, Maryland.

While Gates' move might be seen as a "small moral victory" for the Air Force, the political showdown among lawmakers in states with jobs at stake will be "worse than ever," said Teal Group aerospace analyst Richard Aboulafia. "You are going to see continued micromanagement by the politicians involved."

The political war of words began anew following the World Trade Organization's interim ruling earlier this month that deemed European loans for Airbus as illegal subsidies. A separate ruling on a European Union counter-complaint against the U.S. is expected in about six months.

On Tuesday, Boeing supporters Reps. Todd Tiahrt, a Republican, and Rick Larsen, a Democrat., along with 45 other lawmakers sent a letter to President Barack Obama arguing the U.S. government "should not award defense contracts to companies entangled in illegal activities."

Sen. Richard Shelby, a Republican Northrop supporter, sent a letter last week to U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk saying it would be a "grave mistake" by lawmakers to seek retaliation on the WTO's decision through the tanker contract.

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Vincardog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 02:11 PM
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1. Why can't the USAF buy American?
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rusty_parts2001 Donating Member (728 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 04:15 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. There is only one US manufacturer --Boeing--
Edited on Wed Sep-16-09 04:17 PM by rusty_parts2001
and if there is to be competition for price, quality, etc., they must include Airbus as a competitor. Also, many European countries buy American aircraft (i.e. F-16's) so what's sauce for the goose....
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