(WASHINGTON, D.C.) - Today U.S. Senators Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Pat Roberts, (R-Kan.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) and Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) condemned the decision by the United States Air Force to award a $40 billion contract for air-refueling tankers to European manufacturer EADS.
“This decision was devastating news for Boeing, for American workers, and for America’s men and women in uniform,” said Senator Murray. “I can’t imagine why – when our economy is hurting – our government would decide to outsource a key piece of our national and economic security to France and help create a European economic stimulus package at the expense of U.S. workers. I also think it’s a huge mistake to put a contract that involves military security into the hands of a foreign government. I have a lot of tough questions I want answers to soon because there seems to be a real disconnect here.”
“It will take Airbus longer to start up an assembly line than Boeing. And it will take them longer to produce a viable plane. And when they finally do, that plane will be just plain too big,” said Senator Roberts. “I am deeply troubled by this announcement. I expect to see very detailed documents from the Air Force. I also expect them to brief both competitors quickly because the long and the short of it is, if this decision holds, it will be at the cost of American jobs and American dollars, if not our national security.”
“Just last Friday we were all stunned and extremely disappointed by the Air Force's decision to award its tanker bid to Airbus/Northrop Grumman. What I think stunned us the most was the Air Force's rationale,” said Senator Cantwell. “The U.S. Air Force currently uses more fuel than any other military branch. By not awarding this contact to Boeing, the Air Force is taking a major step backwards. The Boeing KC-767 burns 24 percent less fuel and would have saved taxpayers approximately $10 billion over the life of the tanker. The Air Force has a lot of explaining to do on why they have made this choice.”
“I'm mad. We all came out of our meeting with the Air Force yesterday with more questions than answers, and the answers we got lead to more questions,” said Senator Brownback. “The Air Force needs to provide many additional details about the criteria used to reach this decision. I am calling on the Air Force and the Secretary of Defense to more fully explain how such a critical defense contract could be awarded to a French company and how much the European bid was subsidized by foreign governments. We should not be beholden to the French for parts and maintenance for the defense of our nation and we should not require our military personnel to learn to speak French to be able to operate our refueling tankers. We will fight against this at every turn and I will fight this in the appropriations process.”