Boeing Wins Tanker Contract

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Thursday, February 24, 2011


From the Department of Defense:
The Department of the Air Force announced today the award of an engineering and manufacturing development contract valued at more than $3.5 billion for the KC-46A aerial refueler to Boeing Co. of Seattle, Washington.

The Air Force-led selection effort included experts from the larger Department of Defense community, including the office of the Defense Secretary's staff and independent review teams during each step of the process.

"Many factors were evaluated during the tanker selection process," said Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley.

Selection "took into account mission effectiveness in wartime and life cycle costs as embodied in fuel efficiency and military construction costs," said Donley, emphasizing that both offerors met all the mandatory requirements.

"The thorough and transparent selection process was marked by continual dialogue with offerors to ensure the Air Force had a clear understanding of their proposals and the companies clearly understood the service's analysis of their offers," said Donley.

"Gen. Schwartz and I are confident in the fact that when our young pilots, boom operators and maintainers receive this aircraft, they will have the tools they need to be successful at what we ask them to do," Donley said.

"To the men and women of our Air Force, today's announcement represents a long-overdue start to a much-needed program," Donley said. "Your Air Force leadership, supported by others throughout the Department of Defense, is determined to see this through, and we will stand behind this work."

The program will deliver the first 18 aircraft by 2017. Basing decisions for the aircraft will take place over the next couple of years.


Release from Gov. Brownback:

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback issued the following statement after the U.S. Air Force announced today that it will award its $35 billion contract to build a new fleet of military air tankers to Boeing Company.

“I have been waiting a decade to say this – Congratulations Boeing workers! This is a great day for the company, its employees as well as for our country’s economy and for Kansas. The U.S. Air Force’s decision to award its $35 billion contract to Boeing is the type of economic growth government can provide to get the U.S. and our state back on the road to economic recovery with good jobs.

I commend the Air Force for keeping the production of this vital program in the United States. It ensures the world’s newest and most capable tanker will be built by Americans for our American warfighters. I am very pleased the tankers will be built here in Kansas by the highly skilled and motivated Wichita area workforce. This is great news for American jobs and for American security.”

Boeing announced last spring Kansas would benefit from approximately 7,500 jobs and an estimated $388 million in annual economic impact if the Boeing NewGen Tanker was selected as the U.S. Air Force's next aerial refueling aircraft.


Release from Sen. Pat Roberts:
U.S. Senator Pat Roberts today celebrated the final decision to award the KC-X next generation aerial refueling tanker to The Boeing Company, bringing thousands of jobs to Wichita and finally providing a safe and modern tanker to men and women in the Air Force.

"I am relieved that a safer and better plane will finally replace the Eisenhower era KC-135 tankers we use today. The men and women of our Air Force deserve the best tools available to carry out their critical, strategic and global mission. Their safety should be our number one priority," Roberts said.

"I am also pleased to see that the Air Force awarded the most highly-skilled, experienced workforce to build the tanker. I am proud of our workers at Boeing Wichita who can outcompete anyone and look forward to seeing that first tanker finished and out of the hanger.

"This award will create 7,500 new jobs at a time when the aviation industry and our nation needs them the most. The economic impact to Wichita and the state is an estimated $388 million.

"This decision marks the end of a difficult chapter in our nation’s defense procurement process. Now it is time to get the new tanker in the hands of the warfighter."

Senator Roberts has been a strong advocate of replacing the aging 50 year-old tanker with an American made plane. Roberts first called for a replacement to the KC-135 in 2001 as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and as chairman of the Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities. At an Armed Services Committee hearing, Roberts held up a piece of corroded metal from a KC-135 illustrating the decrepit state of the aircraft men and women in uniform were forced to fly. He noted then the significant maintenance requirements of the tanker and that 40 percent of the fleet was grounded at any given time.


Release from Sen. Jerry Moran:
U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) issued the following statement today following the U.S. Department of Defense’s announcement to award the $35 billion U.S. Air Force KC-X aerial refueling tanker contract to Boeing:

“Today’s decision ends nearly a decade of delay and is a victory for our airmen and women who will no longer have to depend upon an Eisenhower-era tanker fleet,” Sen. Jerry Moran said. “Replacing our aging tanker fleet is essential to the security of our country and safety of our troops, and Kansas workers stand ready to build the next generation of refueling tankers for our military.

“Wichita has long been known as the ‘Air Capital of the World,’ and will live up to that reputation as thousands of skilled Kansans get to work on building the next generation tanker. This decision is great news for our state’s economy and will bring much-needed jobs to the aviation industry that has been hit particularly hard during the economic recession. I look forward to the day when Boeing tankers are coming off the Wichita production lines and being flown by the airmen and women at McConnell Air Force Base.”


Release from Congressman Pompeo:

“Today’s announcement that The Boeing Company has won the KC-X Next Generation Tanker contract is tremendous news for our warfighters, taxpayers, and aviation workers of South Central Kansas.

“After a decade of effort, the Department has finally gotten this contract right. We are long overdue to witness the start of tankers’ production at Spirit Aerosystems, their completion at Boeing-Wichita, and their subsequent movement across the runway to McConnell Air Force Base. The creation of these new tankers is imperative to support the defense efforts of our brave men and women in uniform who are fighting to preserve our freedom across the globe. Our soldiers and airmen deserve the best to accomplish their mission and, now that Boeing has been awarded this contract, they will have the very best tool for the job,” stated Pompeo.

“This contract award also has the benefit of securing thousands of jobs in the State of Kansas over many years ahead. The positive impact of this win cannot be overstated. I want to thank the entire Kansas congressional delegation for its support of this project. Governor Brownback and former Congressman Tiahrt are also to be applauded for their tireless efforts surrounding this cause during their time serving in the United States Congress.

“It is time to start building refueling tankers in Kansas for our nation’s security,” added Pompeo.


The Air Force is poised to award one of the biggest contracts in military history — a $35 billion deal to build nearly 200 giant airborne refueling tankers. The rival companies are Chicago-based Boeing Co. and European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co.

The Pentagon will announce their decision on the Air Force tanker contract this afternoon.

Deputy Secretary of Defense William Lynn, Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition Technology and Logistics Ashton Carter, Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz will announce the KC-X tanker contract award at 5:10 p.m. EST, Feb. 24, in the Pentagon Briefing Room.

If Boeing wins, production would occur in Everett, Wash., Wichita, Kan., and in cities in several other states. If EADS wins, the tanker would be assembled in Mobile, Ala. The two companies say that, either way, some 50,000 jobs would be created.


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Kansas Senator Pat Roberts tells KAKE News he's expecting a call Thursday afternoon from an Air Force General informing him of which company will be awarded the tanker contract.

U.S. Senators and Representatives from across the nation who are closely associated with the tanker deal are expecting similar calls.

The Air Force will decide who will get the $35 billion contract to build the next aerial refueling tanker, the Defense Department's number one acquisition project.

The Air Force has been working to get their Eisenhower-era KC-135 tankers replaced for about a decade.

Boeing and European planemaker EADS, maker of Airbus planes, are competing for the contract.

Boeing contends their plane, based on the 767, is the right size for Air Force requirements. They say if their plane is selected, it could impact 55,000 jobs nationwide, including 7,200 Kansas jobs.

The EADS plane is based on the Airbus A330. Airbus says if they win, the final assembly would be in Alabama.

Several aviation and defense analysts have said in recent weeks that Airbus has the inside track to the contract.

The decision is expected at around 3 o'clock Thursday afternoon. The Air Force is waiting until the stock market closes to make their announcement.


From The Associated Press

Alabama has lost its bid to become home of a plant that will build aircraft refueling tankers for the Air Force.

The Pentagon is awarding a $35 billion contract for the work to the Boeing Co. rather than the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co., which planned to assemble the tankers in Mobile.

Gov. Robert Bentley and other leaders gathered in Mobile for the announcement describe the decision as a sad day for Alabama.

A crowd, gathered to watch the Pentagon announce its decision, fell silent at news of the decision.

The contract initially went to EADS and Northrop, but Boeing protested and the work was rebid.

Alabama officials pushed for the work to come to Mobile since the contract would have meant thousands of jobs.

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