Wed, Sep 17, 2008
Company's Aerospace Status Hinges On Wins, And Losses
Boeing is using the lull in the KC-X tanker bidding war to put
some subtle pressure on the Pentagon, implying that a loss of the
contract to Northrup Grumman and EADS could add to an erosion of
Boeing's military technology capability.
Reuters reports Darryl Davis, president of Boeing's Advanced
Systems unit, told reporters at the annual Air Force Association
meeting Monday that the company is continuing to fund research and
development of new military aircraft, but, "The technology base is
eroding for Boeing as we move late into the next decade."
The new millennium has not been good to Boeing on the military
front. In the last few years Boeing lost the $200 billion Joint
Strike Fighter project to Lockheed Martin, and a combat UAV
contract to Northrop Grumman Corp, which also won a Navy UAV
Production of Boeing's C-17 transport and F-18 fighter jet are
winding down, and Davis agreed with analysts who say Boeing's
long-term military competitiveness is in jeopardy, especially if
the Air Force delays plans to develop a new bomber and a possible
He added that a move by the Pentagon toward more testing of
prototypes before awarding production contracts may boost
competition, but, "Boeing can't fund everything on its own. We're
not talking about a small amount of money."
One bright spot is the success of the V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor,
developed jointly by Boeing and Textron's Bell Helicopter division.
Boeing VP Gene Cunningham, head of the V-22 program, says the last
six aircraft were actually delivered ahead of schedule, and an
increase in the number of CV-22s ordered by the Air Force is
driving increased investment in Bell-Boeing facilities.
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