Outsourcing Gone Mad

Russian Firm to Bid on Air Force Tanker Program

In another twist to the ongoing saga to replace the Air Force’s aging fleet of aerial refueling tankers, United Aircraft Corp. of Russia is planning to bid on the $40 billion contract, according to a person familiar with its plans.

United Aircraft, an aerospace consortium owned by the Russian government, will seek to offer a tanker version of its Ilyushin Il-96 wide-body jetliner, dubbed the Il-98, this person said. The planes would be largely built in Russia, and assembled in the U.S., this person says. United Aircraft will partner with a “small U.S. defense contractor,” which will be renamed United Aircraft Corp. America Inc., this person said, declining to name that contractor.

“UAC will publicly announce by Monday morning the signing of the joint venture agreement for the first of what is hoped to be many opportunities in the U.S.,” says John Kirkland, a Los Angeles-based attorney representing UAC.

A Pentagon spokeswoman said, “the Department of Defense remains committed to a fair and open competition and welcomes proposals from all qualified offerors.”

The Air Force’s aerial tanker replacement program has been tangled in controversy since 2002, when the Pentagon planned to lease a fleet of new tankers from Boeing Co. That plan was revoked and in 2008, Northrop Grumman Corp. and its European partner, the European Aerospace Defence & Space Co., were awarded a contract to build the fleet using the Airbus A330 jetliner. Boeing successfully protested that award and the Pentagon restarted the process yet again last year.

See also:
Russian firm, EADS may give Boeing competition for Air Force tanker
Russian company expected to bid on Air Force refueling tanker
‘Bizarre’ tanker twist: Russians will bid against Boeing for Air Force contract
Russians to bid on U.S. air-tanker contract: WSJ
Russians to bid for U.S. air tanker work
Russian Company Interested in $40 Billion Tanker Contract
EADS says it may rejoin tanker competition
Pentagon says it may extend deadline for air tanker bids
UPDATE 4-Pentagon says EADS may yet pursue tanker deal
EADS Says 60 Days Insufficient for New Tanker Bid (Update2)
Ilyushin Il-96

What a great idea. I mean, what could possibly go wrong? Besides ridiculously high labor costs, is there something wrong with Boeing?

/my head hurts

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Digging Up The Past To Piss Off A Present Ally

It happened 95 years ago and the United States had absolutely no role in it, yet Congress, once again, sticks its nose where it doesn’t belong and has no business being. The predictable diplomatic fallout quickly ensues.

Turkey recalls Ambassador after US vote on Armenia ‘genocide’

One of the worst massacres of the 20th-century came back to haunt international politics yesterday when a powerful Washington panel voted to call the murder of about 1.5 million Armenians in Turkey “genocide”.

After more than three hours of debate, the House Committee on Foreign Affairs narrowly approved a resolution calling on President Obama to “characterise the systematic and deliberate annihilation of 1.5 million Armenians as genocide”.

The vote went ahead despite last-minute pleas from the White House and State Department and triggered a furious reaction from Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish Prime Minister.

“We condemn this resolution, which accuses the Turkish nation of a crime it did not committ,” he said. As Armenian observers applauded the vote on Capitol Hill, the Turkish Ambassador to Washington was recalled.

The Obama Administration may still be able to prevent a full vote in the House of Representatives but yesterday’s resolution threatened to poison America’s relations with its closest Muslim ally. Washington depends on Turkey for access to northern Iraq and in its regional efforts to isolate Iran.

The vote, with 23 congressmen in favour and 22 against, will also jeopardise historic efforts begun last year to create normal diplomatic relations between Turkey and Armenia.

“We are seriously concerned that this resolution approved by the committee despite all our warnings will harm Turkey-US ties and efforts to nomalise Turkey-Armenia relations,” Mr Erdogan added.

Mr Obama promised as a candidate to break with longstanding US practice and start calling the First World War era killings genocide if elected to the White House. He broke the promise last year, refusing to use the word on a visit to Ankara, where he praised Turkey as a model Muslim democracy.

Top defense contractors warn that genocide measure will hurt business

Executives for the nation’s top defense contractors say billions of dollars in business with Turkey could disappear if a genocide resolution advances on Capitol Hill.

Formally recognizing the massacre of 1.5 million Armenians by the Ottoman Turks during World War I as genocide could have “unintended consequences,” chief executives for Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and United Technologies Corp. warned in a Feb. 26 letter to House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Howard Berman (D-Calif.).

“There is reason to believe committee passage of the resolution risks a rupture in U.S.-Turkey relations. Alienating a significant NATO ally and trading partner would likely have negative repercussions for U.S. geopolitical interests and efforts to boost both exports and employment,” the letter says.

The executives told Berman that U.S. defense and aerospace exports to Turkey in 2009 were more than $7 billion and that tens of thousands of American jobs depend on “strong relations” between the two countries. It follows a Feb. 24 letter from the Aerospace Industries Association to Berman that expressed similar concerns about the resolution.

See also:
Genocide Vote Riles Turkey
House panel risks Turkey’s ire in approving Armenian ‘genocide’ resolution
Armenian Genocide Resolution Passes US Congress Committee
Turkey condemns US ‘genocide’ vote
House panel approves Armenian genocide resolution
Turkey recalls ambassador after US resolution on ‘Armenian genocide’
House panel approves Armenian genocide resolution
Resolution vote sends the wrong message to Turkey
House Panel Says Armenian Deaths Were Genocide
House committee narrowly passes recognition of Armenian genocide
Turkey recalls envoy after House vote on Armenian genocide
Turkish anger at US Armenian ‘genocide’ vote

Way to go Howard Berman and your House Foreign Affairs Committee Circus! You’ve just alienated a key NATO logistical ally, jepordized billions of dollars in U.S. exports, and threatend tens of thousands of high paying American jobs, all in a single day! Can someone please tell me why the [expletive deleted] U.S. taxpayers are paying these congressional assclowns to damage international alliances and the U.S. economy over something that happened almost 100 years ago, that the United States wasn’t even remotely involved in? I wasn’t even aware that the Ottoman Empire still ruled Turkey.

/hey Howard, what’s on your assclown committee’s alliance busting agenda for tomorrow, chastising Italy for the crucification of Christ, or perhaps condemning Britain and France for the Crusades?

Don’t Tell Obama, He’ll Just Cancel The Program

Boeing Advanced Tactical Laser Defeats Ground Target in Flight Test

The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] and the U.S. Air Force on Aug. 30 defeated a ground target from the air with the Advanced Tactical Laser (ATL) aircraft, demonstrating ATL’s first air-to-ground, high-power laser engagement of a tactically representative target.

During the test, the C-130H aircraft took off from Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., and fired its high-power chemical laser through its beam control system while flying over White Sands Missile Range, N.M. The beam control system acquired the ground target — an unoccupied stationary vehicle — and guided the laser beam to the target, as directed by ATL’s battle management system. The laser beam’s energy defeated the vehicle.

“This milestone demonstrates that directed energy weapon systems will transform the battlespace and save lives by giving warfighters a speed-of-light, ultra-precision engagement capability that will dramatically reduce collateral damage” said Greg Hyslop, vice president and general manager of Boeing Missile Defense Systems. “By demonstrating this capability, the ATL team has earned a distinguished place in the history of weapon system development”

The test occurred less than three months after a June 13 test in which ATL successfully fired its laser from the air for the first time, hitting a target board on the ground. The ATL team plans additional tests to further demonstrate the system’s military utility. These demonstrations support the development of systems that will conduct missions on the battlefield and in urban operations.

“The bottom line is that ATL works, and works very well” said Gary Fitzmire, vice president and program director of Boeing Missile Defense Systems’ Directed Energy Systems unit. “ATL’s components — the high-energy chemical laser, beam control system and battle manager — are performing as one integrated weapon system, delivering effective laser beam energy to ground targets”

See also:
Boeing Advanced Tactical Laser Defeats Ground Target in Flight Test
Test of laser from C-130H melts hood of car
Pew! Airborne Military Laser Takes Out Truck on Video
Video of Airborne Tactical Laser Hitting a Ground Target Is Not Very Satisfying
Meet the Advanced Tactical Laser
Directed Energy Systems (DES)
Advanced Tactical Laser (ATL)
Advanced Tactical Laser

Okay, so it’s not the most scintillating weapons demonstration ever filmed but it was an aircraft in flight, successfully hitting a specific target with a powerful chemical laser. All new weapons testing is incremental in nature. The ATL holds much future promise for battlefield effectiveness, as part of the AC-130s weapons suite or maybe, perhaps, operated from a drone.

/but seriously, don’t tell Obama, he’s already gutted the Airborne Laser (ABL) program, the ATL’s equally successful big brother

Peace Through Light, Oh Wait, Obama Wants To Cancel It

abl_patch

Nuke-nobbler raygun 747 scores ‘surrogate’ test success

The USA’s amazing jumbo-jet-mounted blaster cannon, the Airborne Laser (ABL), continues progress through flight testing. Lead contractor Boeing announced last night that the ABL has successfully detected and locked onto a test rocket and held a “surrogate” low-power beam on it. Had a full-bore blast been fired, the rocket would have been destroyed.

“This test demonstrates that the Airborne Laser can fully engage an in-flight missile,” said Boeing jumbo-blaster veep Michael Rinn. “Pointing and focusing a laser beam on a target that is rocketing skyward at thousands of miles per hour is no easy task, but the Airborne Laser is uniquely able to do the job.”

The flight test reportedly took place on Monday off the coast of California, with the target rocket launched from San Nicholas Island.

The prototype ABL, following many years of development and teething troubles, now appears to be closing in on a full-power flight test against a ballistic missile by the end of this year. All components of the system have been tested separately on the ground, and now the full-strength laser plus its associated sensors, battle management and beam pointing hardware have been installed in the plane (it had previously flown with a low-powered laser only, for trials).

See also:
Boeing Airborne Laser Team Completes 1st Airborne Test Against Instrumented Target Missile
Technology: Airborne Laser Successfully Tracks, Hits Missile
Boeing news on Airborne Laser, B-1
Boeing Airborne Laser Team Completes 1st Airborne Test Against Instrumented Target Missile
Airborne Laser passes target test
Airborne Laser Passes Another Milestone
ABL Industry Backers Dig In
Despite industry believers, Airborne Laser faces long odds
Defense Firm Touts Value Of Revamped Laser Program
ABL YAL 1A Airborne Laser, USA
Boeing YAL-1

Pretty impressive, huh? Orbit the ABL 24/7 over the western Pacific and suddenly North Korea is in a box, no longer a problem, impotent, neutered.

Well now, we can’t have that, now can we?

/don’t worry, Obama’s gonna cancel the ABL program

It’s Not Easy Being Green . . . If You’re A Hypocrite

How did Obama commemorate Earth Day? By stomping out a carbon footprint that would make a herd of Sasquatch green with envy.

Obama Earth Day Flights Burned More Than 9,000 Gallons Of Fuel

In flying to and from Iowa today, President Obama took two flights on Air Force One and four on Marine One.

The press office at Andrews AFB wouldn’t give me the fuel consumption numbers for the 747 that serves as Air Force One without the approval of the White House Press Office, which as I write this has yet to be given.

But Boeing says its 747 burns about 5 gallons of fuel per mile. It’s 895 miles from Washington to Des Moines, so a round trip brings the fuel consumption for the fixed-wing portion of the President’s trip to 8,950 gallons.

The trip also put President Obama on Marine One for round-trip flights between the White House and Andrews AFB and between Des Moines International Airport and Newton, Iowa, site of his Earth Day speech. It totaled about an hour of flight time. The VH-3D that serves as Marine One consumes about 1200 pounds of fuel per hour which comes out to about 166 gallons consumed flying the President today.

Not included in these calculations are the presidential vehicles that took him the short distance from the landing zone in Newton to the event site at the Trinity Structural Towers Manufacturing Plant.

In his speech there, President Obama called for a “new era of energy exploration in America.”

At a plant that manufactures the towers for wind turbines, he urged Americans to support his plan for promoting expanded use of alternative and renewable fuels.

And he announced that for the first time, the Interior Department would be leasing federal waters for projects to generate electricity from wind and ocean currents.

President Obama could have saved at least 9,116 gallons of fuel by giving his speech at the White House – but no wind turbines are manufactured here.

See also:
Obama Marks Earth Day at Iowa Wind Tower Plant
Obama celebrates Earth Day with tree planting, green initiatives
On Earth Day, Obama pushes ambitious climate agenda
Obama: Earth Day Speech Touts Green Jobs, Cap-and-Trade

Remember the tidal wave of outrage, scorn, and derision when the CEOs of the Big Three auto makers dared to fly on their private jets to Washington to beg for taxpayer money at two days of Congressional hearings?

/well, they had to make the trip and it wasn’t Earth Day

Boeing Shoots, They Score!

Boeing: We zapped a UAV with a laser

Boeing is seeing a glimmer of progress in its work toward fielding laser weapons.

The defense industry giant on Monday said tests of its Laser Avenger system in December marked “the first time a combat vehicle has used a laser to shoot down a UAV,” or unmanned aerial vehicle. In the testing, the Humvee-mounted Laser Avenger located and tracked three small UAVs in flight over the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico and knocked one of the drone aircraft out of the sky.

Boeing didn’t go into much detail about the shoot-down. In response to a query by CNET News, it did say this much about the strike by the the kilowatt-class laser: “A hole was burned in a critical flight control element of the UAV, rendering the aircraft unflyable.”

Avenger

The Avenger is an inexpensive, lightweight, shoot-on-the-move short-range air defense system designed for rapid firing. The system requires a minimum of training and has proven its capabilities through extensive field usage.

Ooh, we have a working vehicle mounted laser weapons system!

/how long before Obama cancels it?