Outrage!… US Firms Infuriated Over Military's French Aircraft Deal

Over the past few years the Department of Defense has awarded defense contracts to European firms for the Presidential Helicopter, Coast Guard surveillance aircraft, Army helicopters, many other programs and now today the KC-30 tankers.


Government subsidized Airbus and Northrop Grumman’s KC-30 design won the prize. (BBC)
Boeing was expected to get the tanker contract today but it was awarded instead to a European manufacturer.

The BBC is reporting tonight on the decision by the military to outsource its refueling aircraft jobs to France:

Boeing’s loss of a $40bn contract to build a new in-flight refuelling aircraft for the US military has drawn angry protests in Congress.
Lawmakers from Washington state and Kansas, which have big Boeing plants, voiced “outrage” that it had gone to a consortium including Europe’s Airbus.

The planes will be assembled in Alabama but constructed largely in Europe.

Boeing has said it is awaiting an explanation from the military before deciding whether or not to appeal.

Here is a note forwarded to me from a friend on this decision by the Pentagon to a US Congressman:

As a long time resident of the State of Missouri I am asking you to immediately request a full review of the decision made today by the Department of Defense and the US Air Force to buy 179 KC-30 aerial refueling tanker aircraft from the European government-supported EADS corporation and Northrop Grumman. What happened to buy America to support US companies and jobs?

Today American high technology companies are facing increasing challenges to compete in the global marketplace and finding it hard to maintain good, high quality jobs here in the US where taxes can remain in our economy. Everyone said the answer is competition. Why does the DOD feel it is best value to spend more than $45B to support the further development of a European-designed and government subsidized A330 aircraft and sustain jobs and workers throughout France, Germany, Spain, UK and other European nations at the expense of American workers?

The decision in favor of the EADS A330 will result in the end of the 767 production line, provide the USAF with a European tanker and put thousands of American workers out of work. I have read the reports that 20 states, especially Alabama and Arizona, will benefit and more than 58 percent of the program will be US content. However, most of these will be final assembly, support and logistics jobs, and not core high technology design and development jobs. These will remain in Europe and much of the cash from this program will flow through EADS. A 767 buy would have resulted in more than 90 percent US job content and retain critical design, development and integration skills in the US.

Over the past few years the Department of Defense has awarded defense contracts to European firms for the Presidential Helicopter, Coast Guard surveillance aircraft, Army helicopters, many other programs and now the KC-30 tankers. What happens if Europe in the future embargos their products to impact US political or defense options? With the exception of the UK, most European nations have used their limited defense resources to maintain small quantity defense programs to sustain European high technology firms and jobs, while at the same time sharply reducing their defense expenses in support of worldwide peace operations, especially those aligned with US objectives.

Please become involved in an immediate review of this very damaging decision. I say yes to American companies and jobs and no to European workers and especially no to flowing US taxpayer funds to support EADS which will further erode American aerospace competitiveness.

Michelle Malkin has more on the deal and reported on possible corruption.

UPDATE: Commenter DCD adds this…

This is the same thing that our government & and their business buddies did to our merchant marine industry back in the 1970’s – 80’s.

The US military sealift command started awarding cargo and transport contracts to foreign flagged vessels and eventually, allowed the foreign vessels to opperate in our coastal waters.

The foreign vessels and crews did not have to pass the stringent inspection and licensing requirements of US vessels and would operate at day rates considerably below the break even rate of comparably sized American vessels.

I and many thousands of US merchant seaman were laid off and most US flagged vessles were scrapped, mothballed, or sold at a discount to foreign owned companies. It was a sad demise to a once great industry in America.

Now, the business types are dismantling and brokering the sale of our aircraft manufacturers.

Pretty soon, all of our industires will have been trashed and sold and the foreign flags will be flying from every street corner. We’re already seeing the beginning of this.

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