Chicago-based Boeing Co. is heralding yesterday's aerial-refueling contract win not only as a victory for the company but also for the U.S. economy.
Boeing said production of the Air Force's next-generation aerial-refueling tanker, the "KC-46A," as the Air Force now is calling it, will support approximately 50,000 U.S. jobs. Boeing will build and modify the next-generation tankers -- which replace its own KC-135s from the 1950s and 1960s -- at facilities in Washington state and Kansas.
The contract also will support more than 800 suppliers in more than 40 states, according to Boeing.
"Boeing has always been committed to the integrity of the competitive process, and the men and women across our Boeing commercial and defense teams and our entire supplier network are ready to extend that commitment to delivering these tankers on time and on budget," said Jim Albaugh, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes.
While Boeing touted the contract win as a win for U.S. jobs, Netherlands-based EADS NV emphasized that its North American division would have built the aerial-refueling tanker at a new production facility in Mobile, Ala., if EADS had won the tanker contract.
EADS, the parent of Toulouse, France-based Airbus SAS, has said that an EADS contract win would have supported 48,000 U.S. jobs.
"This is certainly a disappointing turn of events, and we look forward to discussing with the Air Force how it arrived at this conclusion," EADS North America Chairman Ralph Crosby Jr. said. "For seven years our goal has been to provide the greatest capability to our men and women in uniform, and to create American jobs by building the KC-45 here in the U.S. We remain committed to those objectives."
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