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Air Force Awards Tanker Contract to Northrop Grumman and EADS, A Big Win For Mobile Alabama

A few days ago I posted the article Waiting On A Winner – The Mobile Alabama Tanker Contract. Well, the wait is over. The contract was awarded to Northrop Grumman Corp and its European partner, Airbus parent EADS. The decision was announced just before 4:00 PM today. The local Pensacola and Mobile news stations even interrupted their regularly scheduled programs to break the news.

This contract will have a huge impact on the economy of Mobile. Its effect on Pensacola remains to be seen. I expect some positive economic benefits will seep over into our area, but I don’t see a windfall economic stimulus like the one expected in Mobile. Remember, Mobile is also getting a huge steel plant. See my article about Mobile’s economic boom.

Of course, not everyone sees this news as good. When I looked on the internet tonight for follow-up stories, the first headline I saw was “Congress In Turmoil Over Air Force Tanker Decision”.  Obviously, lawmakers on the side of Boeing, the loser in this contest, are screaming in protest. 

Prior to the decision, Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., chairman of the caucus and of the Senate Budget Committee, asked Boeing and the Northrop Grumman/EADS team to respect the Air Force’s selection and not protest the award.  “We strongly encourage both bidders to respect the Air Force decision as final,” Conrad said. “It is essential that we move forward quickly and have no further delay.”

Now if Boeing would have won and EADS/Northrop Grumman had protested, can you imagine the noise the winners would make over the protest. But since Boeing lost, do you think they will just accept the decision as final? Not very likely, in my opinion.

Congratulations to Mobile Alabama. This city has definitely shown that it can attract real business to the Gulf Coast.  Maybe leaders from Escambia county could spend some time in Mobile and learn a thing or two about attracting business.

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