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Northrop beats Boeing in $3.8 bln tanker service work
On Thursday October 1, 2009, 7:29 pm EDT
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Northrop Grumman Corp (NYSE:NOC - News) beat rival Boeing Co (NYSE:BA - News) to win a major $3.8 billion contract to maintain and service the U.S. Air Force's fleet of KC-10 refueling tankers, the Pentagon said on Thursday.
Boeing holds the current contract for servicing the aircraft, which expires in January, and has provided support for the KC-10s for more than a decade.
Boeing said it was disappointed by the Pentagon's decision.
"We presented a competitive proposal that leveraged Boeing's tremendous experience from over 80 years of building and maintaining tankers as well as inventing boom technology," Boeing spokesman Forrest Gossett said.
"We now need to review the Air Force's selection decision and process before deciding on our next course of action."
Large Pentagon contracts are often appealed to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, the audit arm of Congress.
The Air Force had planned to award the contract in June 2008, but a decision was delayed because bidders submitted insufficient cost and pricing data.
"This is a stunning upset," said defense analyst Loren Thompson with the Virginia-based Lexington Institute. Boeing has been servicing this plane since it was first introduced, Thompson said, adding "so for Boeing to lose to Northrop is truly amazing."
Northrop, with its European partner, Airbus-maker EADS (Paris:EAD.PA - News), is also in a battle with Boeing to win a contract to supply at least 179 new tankers to the Air Force, work that could be worth up to $50 billion.
The Air Force's oldest tankers are the KC-135s, some of which are 50 years old.
The Air Force's refueling fleet includes nearly 60 KC-10s, which were purchased in the 1970s and are modified DC-10 aircraft made by McDonnell Douglas, which was bought by Boeing in 1997.
Boeing envisage t'il un appel ?
Sérieux revers en tout cas.
Pour Loren Thompson la situation est la suivante :
Bad blood between Boeing, Air Force?
Posted at 1:13 pm by Michelle Dunlop
The Air Force's selection yesterday of Northrop Grumman for a $3.8 billion KC-10 tanker logistics contract has raised a few eyebrows.
Defense analyst Loren Thompson, with the Lexington Institute, sees Boeing's latest loss in string of defeats as the sign of a bad relationship between the defense contractor and the Air Force.
Thompson points out that Boeing seems to be on good terms with both the Army and Navy for defense business.
And Boeing hasn't failed to deliver for the Air Force, the analyst notes.
“But the relationship went awry in a series of procurement scandals at mid-decade, and then melted down during the competition to build the KC-X future tanker. While Northrop skillfully marketed its plane to the service, Boeing managed to alienate the source evaluation panel,” Thompson writes.
With Army and Navy cutbacks, Thompson says Boeing needs to be on better terms with the Air Force, which has the most work to offer.
“But the Air Force needs to get back on track with Boeing too, because there just aren't that many companies left that can build the kind of planes it will require in the future. This hasn't been a great decade for either organization, but if they get a divorce the next decade could be worse,” Thompson says.
Relations tendues entre Boeing et l'USAF, pas sur des pb de performance du matériel livré d'ailleurs.
La navy et l'Army, avec lesquelles Boeing a de bon rapports, réduisent leur programmes. Boeing doit se reconcentrer sur l'USAF qui représente de nombreux débouchés potentiels.
De l'autre côté, l'USAF a besoin de Boeing, sur certains marchés, l'offre de Boeing est très compétitive.