For Boeing, Warplanes Are Becoming History

After losing another big military contract, giant's defense role shrinking to bit parts
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Apr 7, 2008 3:34 PM CDT
Boeing union workers protest the U.S. Air Force's decision to award a fuel tanker contract to Airbus-Northrop Grumman at the Aerospace Machinists Union in Everett, Wash., Friday Feb. 29, 2008.    (AP Photo/Stephen Brashear)
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(Newser) – As Boeing makes fewer military aircraft and more hardware systems, its commercial and defense arms look increasingly like separate companies, the Seattle Times reports. "These are two legs walking in opposite directions," one analyst says. While airplanes continue to dominate its commercial side, the company, once a military-aircraft mainstay, now lacks a single prime contract for future warplanes.

Boeing Commercial produced 441 aircraft last year, to 84 for the defense arm—which also recently lost a huge tanker contract to a rival and its European partner. Meanwhile, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems focuses on projects like missile defense and a “virtual” border fence. A VP insists on a flow of expertise between the divisions, but an analyst asks, “Where’s the synergy?” (Read more Boeing stories.)