Thursday, September 30, 2010
Wichita employees are assured of continuing modernization work on the Boeing B-52 because of a new Pentagon contract worth nearly $12 billion dollars.
"The new contract from the Pentagon assured that Boeing Wichita will help keep the B-52 flying for years to come. There's a long rich heritage of Boeing and B-52 in Wichita," Boeing Wichita Director of B-52 Programs Scot Oathout said.
That heritage goes back more than 50 years when B-52 final assembly was done in Wichita. It was the last final assembly line at Boeing's Wichita plant. For 55 years since then, Boeing Wichita employees have kept the venerable jet modernized so the war fighter doesn't fall behind in battle technology.
And the Pentagon will be leaning on that experience for at least the eight-year duration of a contract which altogether could be worth $11.9 billion dollars.
Oathout calls it an "umbrella contract" because within the agreement will come the specific work contracts for such things as engineering work, studies, production and any other activities to sustain the B-52. The first delivery order is for new evolutionary data link kits to be installed on B-52s stationed on the Island of Guam.
"I think it's an excellent contract. I hope they get the work here to Wichita., Oathout adds.
Boeing Wichita employs about 2,300 now. Of that number about 400 are tied to B-52 programs. And, although the contract doesn't signal an expansion here with more jobs to come, it does assure that the work that is being done here now will be supported and those employees will have work to do for years to come.