Once upon a time, an American president predicted a marriage of sorts between America's political class and its military-industrial complex. But as with so many wedded couples, we learned this week that there's ...
Trouble in paradise
You may not have heard, but over in Paris, there's a shindig going on as airplane makers from around the globe hobnob and shop their wares to willing buyers. One plane-maker in particular is pulling out the stops on its sales palaver: Boeing
Ever since losing twin competitions to build the Pentagon's fifth-generation fighters, the F-35 Lightning II and F-22 Raptor, to Lockheed Martin
"Mad" in both senses of the word, I'm afraid. Boeing wants to sell as many of its own jets as possible before Lockheed's F-35 starts locking up sales. Problem is, in promoting its F-15 "Silent Eagle," Boeing's also casting aspersions upon Lockheed's Lightning.
To hear Boeing tell it, the Silent Eagle not only costs less than the Lightning, but offers "from a front-radar cross-section... all the stealth that has been approved for export by the U.S. government." Simultaneously, Boeing dismisses the Lightning being marketed in Paris as a "dumbed-down" export version of the plane. The implication is that foreign buyers of the F-35 are overpaying for shoddy merchandise.
Oh no they di-int!
Oh, yes, they did. Boeing dissed the F-35, and while Lockheed's so far "playing it classy" and ignoring Boeing's trash talk, the Pentagon isn't. Brigadier Gen. David Heinz -- the officer in charge of the F-35 program at the Pentagon -- took the bait yesterday and blasted back, "categorically" denying that the export F-35 variant differed from the U.S. model.
And your mama wears combat boots
What's more, while Boeing may be right about the Silent Eagle's stealth characteristics when viewed head-on, Heinz confides: "the second he turns, he looks just like the Goodyear blimp."
So far, all Boeing's attempt at sales puffery has won it is a public smackdown from its most important customer. Was that smart? Maybe, if Boeing manages to ink enough F-15 contracts this week ...
But I doubt it.
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