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Rumsfeld and DOD Aerospace acquisitions

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posted on Nov, 15 2006 @ 05:17 PM
Here's a question that is both a business and a political question, but pertains to the military aerospace industry in the US.

For the last 6 years it seems that Lockheed has gotten a disproportionate slice of the aerospace systems pie; From the lunar CEV (basically an Apollo copy) to the F-22 winning the ATF competition, (many people thought the F-23 should have won).

Will the absense of Rumsfeld at the Pentagon change the landscape of military aerospace contracts? In other words will the other companies considered in the "Big Three" now get more contracts? Was Rummy somehow prejudiced against the other 2 companies? Perhaps he own a bunch of Lockheed stock?

What are your thoughts?

[edit on 11-15-2006 by intelgurl]

posted on Nov, 15 2006 @ 05:44 PM
First up, excellent post, exactly the kind of thing that should be discussed and debated here. (Big shocker considering the author *wink*)

But having said that, I don’t have an exact answer to the main point of the thread, just a general comment that is loosely related.

I want to talk about the " the F-22 winning the ATF competition, (many people thought the F-23 should have won..." comment. I agree that many people seem to be of this opinion, and it does seem that Lockheed got more than its fair share of contracts under Rummy’s watch. But I want to point out something out that we all seem to ignore.

These programs, although not black, are riddled with classified technologies and performance requirements that you and I may never understand or know of. People far more intelligent, or at the very least much better informed, are making these choices taking into account things you and I don’t know. Who are we to know or speculate that the 23 was better than the 22? We don’t, and we may never know.

And this goes for all these programs in question, not just the ATF. Is it so hard to imagine that Lockheed just got it right? Take this into account: Intelgurl actually works in this industry and she does not know, so how can we armchair quarterbacks know?

Is the 23 better than the 22? Maybe, maybe not, but people a great deal more informed than us didn’t think so.

[edit on 15-11-2006 by skippytjc]

posted on Nov, 15 2006 @ 06:20 PM
I do look forward to see the DoD start spreading the contracts more fairly. I have been wondering about this simming "Give Everything to Lockheed" attitude. Nothing against Lockheed, but I feel it's follish to place the responsibility for all of the US military's Air Power in one company. This system creates what seems to be a monopoly. By cutting back on compitition, they are stiffeling innovation. When you have to work hard to get a contract, you are willing to push the envlope opf innovation farther to get an edge on the compatition. If you have no compatition, this incentive is gone!

Since about 1990, I the Pentagon has done a really POOR job of running weapons programs:

-There's little new innovation in military hardware
-The costs are mind numbing
-There are preciouse few companies left.

Look at Aerospace! In the 70's 80's and Earily 90's we had:

Martin Marrieta
General Dynamics
McDonald Douglas

Thats 13 different companies! Today with all the cuts and mergers we're down to:

Lockheed Martian
Northrop Grumman

If that's not a drematic drop in companies, what is? Less companies means less copatition. Not good news if you the costomer!


posted on Nov, 15 2006 @ 06:23 PM
It will sure be interesting to see where the corporate/government revolving door lands Rummy after his Pentagon stint. He came from Searl where he was CEO. The company is the maker of aspartame and rummy presided over one of the biggest scientific frauds to befall the FDA. Admitted and resulting in legislative changes. (Aspartame is still on the market though - see the film "Sweet Misery" for more).

If he ends up on the Board of Lockheed Martin your suspicions will be confirmed IMO.

BTW Lockheed was one of the major lobbyists for the "Help America Vote Act" bringing you electronic voting machines.

posted on Nov, 15 2006 @ 06:28 PM
One has to wonder how many offshore bank accounts hold funds in trust for pols that help out desperate companies bidding on government contracts? It is not enough to make few bucks on a few shares to get these guys on side I'd think.

posted on Nov, 15 2006 @ 09:51 PM
Intelgurl, you're in the business you know it's not all Lock-Mart. Remember that every gets a slice of the pie here. Lock-Mart distributes jobs to Boeing, Rockwell, NG, GD, etc. They don't make the entire F-22 down in Georgia, they assemble it there and make some of it there. You want the best stuff right? They have competitions to determine who's the best so they can do just that. And don't think that only 2 companies compete. On the JSF, I know of at least 4 initial competitors for it (LM, Boeing, NG, GD), Boeing and LM were asked to build a test model thingy. It's a natural progression of things for businesses to cosolidate, how did enormous businesses get that way? By eating other businesses. That's all business science which I'm not here to discuss. The number of fighters we've been using has also been dropping (why try to keep up with 15 fighters when 8 would be better for the same number). This has been especially more true since multirole fighters have come into their own and really can do everything moderately well. A lot of smaller (read: not as high profile as the ATF and JSF) have been awarded as well. What you see is not necessarily what you get.

Still active companies that I can think of off the top of my head:
The Boeing Company
Northrop Grumann
General Dynamics (they threw their hat in for the JSF, that I know)
General Atomics (I believe they make the Predator)
General Electric (I swear it's the last general)
Pratt & Whittney
Rolls-Royce (these are the engine providers of course)
Raytheon (rockets including missiles)
(crap forgot the other missile guys, Avidyne maybe?)

This doesn't count the avionics providers which means things like Rockwell. General Dynamics still does a lot. Each company has it's speciality as well.

posted on Nov, 15 2006 @ 11:26 PM
You are right - I am in the industry. Sure Lockmart distributes subcontract work out to the other companies, but the fact remains that when it comes to DoD assigning the Primary contract on a large aerospace system it is more often than not Lockmart that gets the prime contract.

I suppose what peives me most are the rumors I have heard in the industry regarding delays, cancellations etc of viable UAV systems - specifically the J-UCAS now N-UCAS type systems, X-45 and X-47.

Here are systems that are close to becoming useful combat aircraft, and they are in a niche that Boeing and Northrop were beginning to dominate in, but due to coincidental DoD delays and appropriations readjustments, the Lockheed "Polecat" (and other unpublished systems) are catching up with the other guys on the technical accomplishments timetable.

It sort of makes you wonder if the powers that be knew that Lockmart had something going but needed a little extra time to get it ready to be competitive with Northrop and Boeing.

Paranoid ramblings?
Maybe, but it's not just me in the industry that has such an opinion.

[edit on 11-15-2006 by intelgurl]

posted on Nov, 16 2006 @ 12:17 AM
True enough, but there's a lot we CAN'T know and we sure as hell couldn't publish here if you did know. A lot of that is in the Skunkworks I'm willing to bet. We really don't know what going on a Skunkworks, Phantomworks, or any very secret division at NG. I'm willing to bet the projects either went black or new black projects came up derived from the X-47, X-45, etc.

Is there currently a contract to develop a UCAV into service or are they just governmentally funded projects? How often do companies develop internal projects to work on new technologies without the government giving them a kick in the ass? I'm still a student in Aero so I haven't gotten in the business yet.

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