Surprise! Boeing wins $35 billion tanker order

Airbus will no doubt protest but if they really expect to displace Boeing for the US Air Force  tankers they are living in a dream world. They should have seen the writing on the wall when the whole contract was re-tendered even after they had won the order for 179 aircraft in 2008. There is no US politician who would have the courage to place such an order outside of the US.

Bloomberg reports:

Boeing Co., the sole supplier of aerial refueling tankers to the U.S. Air Force since 1948, beat European Aeronautic, Defence & Space Co. for a $35 billion program to build 179 new tankers, the Pentagon said yesterday.

It was the Chicago-based company’s third try at the contract since Congress and the Air Force first proposed the tanker replacement program in late 2001 — a contest in which Boeing was viewed as an underdog, said an analyst.

“Boeing’s victory was a major upset, and not at all what the industry was expecting,” Richard Aboulafia, a military aircraft analyst with the Fairfax, Virginia-based Teal Group, said in an e-mail.

Boeing will manufacture basic 767-model aircraft in Everett, Washington, and convert them into tankers in Wichita, Kansas, during the first stage of a three-part Air Force program stretching decades to replace its tanker fleet.

The initial contract for the development phase was valued at $3.5 billion. The entire first phase covers 13 production lots through 2027. The Pratt & Whitney unit of United Technologies Corp. will provide the engines. Boeing says the win will create and sustain 50,000 jobs among 800 suppliers in 40 states.

Related:

$35 billion US tanker decision imminent: Boeing and Airbus prepare to protest a loss

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