Boeing Supporters Continue Fight Against Northrop/EADS
The Northrup Grumman-partnered EADS KC-45A team cleared a major
legislative hurdle this week, when lawmakers announced the Senate
Armed Services Committee approved startup funding for the new
"This is great news for the tanker project," said Alabama
Senator Jeff Sessions, to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer this week.
Alabama stands to gain significant employment from the program as
EADS plans to build a tanker-manufacturing facility in Mobile.
Despite the gain, the US Air Force KC-X contract award to EADS
on February 29 continues to be protested by Boeing supporters. As ANN reported, the
wide-ranging protest by Boeing stems from its claim the US Air
Force changed the guidelines of the KC-X program to make the EADS
KC-45A, based on the Airbus A330, more competitive. Boeing states
its offering, the KC-767, better suited the original guidelines set
by the Air Force for the KC-X.
The Government Accountability Office is set to rule on the
protest by mid-June. Supporters of Boeing's bid say additional
steps are being taken to halt the program through congressional
Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI), chairman of the Senate committee, said
Thursday he would not support any such action before the Government
Accountability Office rules on the Boeing appeal. "We are not going
to prejudge the (tanker) debate," Levin told reporters. "We need
the GAO to reach an independent decision on the (Boeing) appeal.
Everybody ought to wait for that."
House supporters of the Boeing appeal hope to have more success
in halting the program. Washington Representative Norm Dicks states
the House defense appropriations subcommittee intends to intervene
to halt the EADS tanker project. Dicks sits as vice chairman of
"We are going to try to eliminate the funding" for the tanker,
Dicks said, and push to "start this thing over again."