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Boeing: Outsold Twice on the Same Deal?

Is Boeing out for the count?

Is Boeing out for the count?

I heard on the news this evening that Boeing may decide to no-bid on the $35 billion U.S. Airforce tanker opportunity.

AviationWeek reported that “Word that Boeing is strongly considering a ‘no bid’ position for the next round of the U.S. Air Force refueling tanker competition is spreading only two days after the Pentagon released the revised KC-X draft request for proposals (RFP).”

The article went on, “After Northrop Grumman threatened a no-bid position in the last round [Were there supposed to be multiple rounds?  I don’t think so…], the Pentagon added items to the RFP that would take into account the attributes of its A330-200-based design, which was submitted jointly with EADS.” 

A month ago today I accused the Boeing team of being outsold.  Apparently the Northrup-Grumman-Airbus team managed to get the Air Force to include specifications in the revised RFP that only they could provide.  Although Boeing representatives are certainly upset, they didn’t comment.  That was a textbook flanking strategy as I pointed out in the last post.

The Washington Post reported tonight that, “Last week, Boeing backers bristled at the terms and timetable of the Pentagon’s new tanker competition.” 

My guess would be that Boeing may not have time to redesign their version of the tanker to include the new specifications set down by the Air Force.  Again, indications of the timing aspect of a textbook flanking strategy.

Although it is being said that the Air Force will be embarrassed if they wind up with only one bidder, they’ll apparently get what they want—the Airbus tanker.

Is Boeing trying what Northrup-Grumman succeeding in doing, threatening to no-bid?  Will it work?

Let’s watch what happens.

Additional reading:


2 Responses

  1. It sounds like they have switched from a Frontal Strategy to a Develop/Delay Strategy. I wonder if they believe they can strenghten their position given some additional time? If not, it is nothing more and a Frontal Strategy in disguise which did not work out very well for them the last time.

    Should be interesting to watch…


  2. Ah…

    We’ve got a genuine competitive sales strategist jumping into the discussion.

    Thanks, Bruce.

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