Both Boeing and Northrop Grumman are pulling out all stops to engage politicians and other supporters as they try to capture the Air Force’s KC-X tanker replacement program, now slated for contract award at year’s end. Recent news releases from both companies tout their impact on local economies around the country should they win the competition. Boeing is offering its 767 and says in a release targeting Florida that it would generate more than $45 million annually in economic activity in the state and create an estimated 1,100 direct and indirect jobs. Northrop, which has teamed with EADS North America to offer a version of the Airbus 330 dubbed KC-30, says in a subsequent Florida-targeted release that it would create more than 2,000 new jobs and estimates economic activity for the state at $100 million annually. The Northrop-EADS team plans to produce the tanker in Alabama, while Boeing would produce the airframe in Washington.
Boeing’s receipt of the 10th lot contract award for the KC-46 Pegasus this week leaves just three lots left to complete the Air Force’s buy of the tanker, although a further buy of 75 additional aircraft as a “bridge” to the Next-Generation Aerial-refueling System (NGAS) seems increasingly likely.