Will AF tanker award be delayed again?

Analyst Scott Hamilton has this interesting post about the possibility of the U.S. Air Force aerial refueling tanker contest award slipping to 2012.

The Air Force is expected to name a winner of the $35 billion contest between the Boeing Co., EADS and duo U.S. Aerospace and Antonov later this year. The award date already has slipped from late summer to Nov. 12 (a slide the Air Force initially denied).

Hamilton notes that Morgan Stanley analyst Heidi Wood has warned the Air Force might not announce a contract winner until 2011. Hamilton points out that whenever the award is announced, the loser likely will protest the Air Force’s decision, prolonging the process into 2012.

By that time, it is possible Boeing will have lost one of its most adamant supporters in Congress. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash, is in a tough battle to retain her seat with Republican Dino Rossi. Murray holds a key seat in the Senate’s appropriations committee. Of course, Boeing would still have support in the House from Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Wash., who holds a powerful position in Defense appropriations.

Boeing supporters aren’t the only ones who are growing more skeptical of the tanker process and politics it involves.

In this editorial, the Pensacola News Journal says the Gulf Coast can’t count on EADS winning the tanker and creating jobs there.

EADS’ supporters in Congress “don’t have the same clout” as Boeing’s backers, Winslow Wheeler, a former Senate and GAO staffer who now serves as a senior fellow at the Center for Defense Information think tank, told the publication.

“If for some reason Boeing loses, the Boeing porkers like Patty Murray will go nuts,” Wheeler said. “If it’s EADS that loses, Sen. Sessions and others will scream and yell, but I’d be very surprised if they had the raw votes to alter the decision.”

The Birmingham News’ editorial staff also said residents of Alabama shouldn’t get too optimistic over the tanker contest:

Don’t misread us. There’s nothing wrong with state officials’ unbridled enthusiasm. If EADS were to win the contract, its Mobile plant would anchor a burgeoning aerospace corridor in Gulf Coast states. We just hope all of our overly optimistic officials turn out to be right.

Talk to us

More in Herald Business Journal

Yansi De La Cruz molds a cheese mixture into bone shapes at Himalayan Dog Chew on Thursday, Sept. 21, 2023 in Arlington, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Give a dog a bone? How about a hard cheese chew from Arlington instead!

Launched from a kitchen table in 2003, Himalayan Pet Supply now employs 160 workers at its new Arlington factory.

Cash is used for a purchase at Molly Moon's Ice Cream in Edmonds, Washington on Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Washington minimum wage to top $16 an hour next year

Meanwhile, some salaried workers and rideshare drivers could see their earnings rise from other state-required adjustments.

Inside the new Boeing 737 simulator at Simulation Flight in Mukilteo, Washington on Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
New Boeing 737 simulator takes ‘flight’ in Mukilteo

Pilots can test their flying skills or up their game at Simulation Flight in Mukilteo.

An Amazon worker transfers and organizes items at the new PAE2 Amazon Fulfillment Center on Thursday, Sept. 14, 2023, in Arlington, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Amazon cuts ribbon on colossal $355M fulfillment center in Arlington

At 2.8 million square feet, the facility is the largest of its kind in Washington. It can hold 40 million “units” of inventory.

A computer rendering of the North Creek Commerce Center industrial park in development at 18712 Bothell-Everett Highway. (Kidder Mathews)
Developer breaks ground on new Bothell industrial park

The North Creek Commerce Center on Bothell Everett Highway will provide warehouse and office space in three buildings.

Dan Bates / The Herald
Funko president, Brian Mariotti is excited about the growth that has led his company to need a 62,000 square foot facility in Lynnwood.
Photo Taken: 102312
Former Funko CEO resigns from the Everett company

Brian Mariotti resigned Sept. 1, six weeks after announcing he was taking a six-month sabbatical from the company.

Cash is used for a purchase at Molly Moon's Ice Cream in Edmonds, Washington on Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Paper or plastic? Snohomish County may require businesses to take cash

County Council member Nate Nehring proposed an ordinance to ban cashless sales under $200. He hopes cities will follow suit.

Catherine Robinweiler leads the class during a lab session at Edmonds College on April 29, 2021. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Grant aids apprenticeship program in Mukilteo and elsewhere

A $5.6 million U.S. Department of Labor grant will boost apprenticeships for special education teachers and nurses.

Peoples Bank is placing piggy banks with $30 around Washington starting Aug. 1.
(Peoples Bank)
Peoples Bank grant program seeks proposals from nonprofits

Peoples Bank offers up to $35,000 in Impact Grants aimed at helping communities. Applications due Sept. 15.

Workers build the first all-electric commuter plane, the Eviation Alice, at Eviation's plant on Wednesday, Sept. 8, 2021 in Arlington, Washington.  (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Arlington’s Eviation selects Seattle firm to configure production plane

TLG Aerospace chosen to configure Eviation Aircraft’s all-electric commuter plane for mass production.

Orca Mobility designer Mike Lowell, left, and CEO Bill Messing at their office on Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2023 in Granite Falls, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Could a Granite Falls startup’s three-wheeler revolutionize delivery?

Orca Mobility’s battery-powered, three-wheel truck is built on a motorcycle frame. Now, they aim to make it self-driving.

Members of Gravitics' team and U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen stand in front of a mockup of a space module interior on Thursday, August 17, 2023 at Gravitics' Marysville facility. Left to right: Mark Tiner, government affairs representative; Jiral Shah, business development; U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen; Mike DeRosa, marketing; Scott Macklin, lead engineer. (Gravitics.)
Marysville startup prepares for space — the financial frontier

Gravitics is building space station module prototypes to one day house space travelers and researchers.