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Fri, Feb 25, 2011

Boeing: We Are Honored To Build The Air Force's Next Tanker

Seattle Planemaker Selected For $35 Billion Contract

Boeing's reaction was predictably enthusiastic after being awarded a $35 billion contract to build the KC-46A tanker for the U.S. Air Force.


Artist's Conceptualization

"We're honored to be given the opportunity to build the Air Force's next tanker and provide a vital capability to the men and women of our armed forces," said Jim McNerney, Boeing chairman, president and CEO. "Our team is ready now to apply our 60 years of tanker experience to develop and build an airplane that will serve the nation for decades to come."

Boeing says the KC-46A tankers will be built using a low-risk approach to manufacturing by a trained and experienced U.S. work force at existing Boeing facilities. The KC-46A tanker also will fuel the economy as it supports approximately 50,000 total U.S. jobs with Boeing and more than 800 suppliers in more than 40 states.

"This contract award would not have been possible without the hundreds of Boeing employees across the entire company, and the thousands of our industry teammates, who remained laser-focused on our commitment to offer a solution that is first in capability and best in value,” said Dennis Muilenburg, president and CEO of Boeing Defense, Space & Security. "This award is also a tribute to the Air Force and Defense Department officials who worked so tirelessly to make this procurement process fair, ultimately resulting in the selection of the right plane for the mission. We look forward to working with our Air Force customer to deliver this much needed capability to the servicemen and women we are honored to serve."

"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.


Artist's Conceptualization

Based on the proven Boeing 767 commercial airplane, the KC-46A Tanker is a widebody, multi-mission aircraft updated with the latest and most advanced technology and capable of meeting or exceeding the Air Force's needs for transport of fuel, cargo, passengers and patients. It includes state-of-the-art systems to meet the demanding mission requirements of the future, including a digital flight deck featuring Boeing 787 Dreamliner electronic displays and a flight control design philosophy that places aircrews in command rather than allowing computer software to limit combat maneuverability. The NewGen Tanker also features an advanced KC-10 boom with an expanded refueling envelope, increased fuel offload rate and fly-by-wire control system.

Alabama officials, however, expressed disappointment in the decision by the Air Force. EADS/Airbus would have assembled its version of the new tanker in Mobile. Joe Bonner, who represents the city in Congress, said in a statement "After having already won the competition three years ago and having brought to the table the best refueling aircraft for our military, it’s deeply disappointing that Mobile and the Gulf Coast were not chosen as the home of the new Air Force tanker.  Unfortunately, the best tanker for our military was not selected.  I intend to demand a full accounting as to why. While there was great optimism that our team would ultimately prevail, we’ve also been conditioned to expect the unexpected. This competition has been challenged before and it’s not unlikely it will be challenged again. It will ultimately be up to EADS to determine whether they will protest this decision and I will fully support whatever decision they make.”


Congressman Bonner

Pentagon officials downplayed the possibility of a challenge, insisting that the competition was "open and transparent," and Deputy Defense Secretary William Lynn said the process favored "no one but the taxpayer."

The Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce was similarly disappointed. “The U.S. Department of Defense, in not awarding the aerial refueling tanker contract to EADS North America today, has made a egregious error and America’s military men and women are ultimately the biggest losers,” the organization said in a prepared statement.

FMI: www.UnitedStatesTanker.com

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