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Mobile Alabama USAF Tanker Contract Under Fire

If you live in the Pensacola Florida or Mobile Alabama area, you have to have been living under a rock not to have heard the news of the big Air Force contract awarded last week.  The contract was awarded to Northrop Grumman Corp and its European partner, Airbus parent EADS. How this whole award will affect the economy and real estate values in Pensacola is yet to be determined. Mobile Alabama real estate values are already on the rise.

This contract will have a huge impact on the economy of Mobile. As more news comes out, it appears Pensacola will also benefit from this contract, with possible commercial business coming to Saufley Field air base. Businesses near Mobile with quick access to I-10 are set to prosper, from Mississippi into the Florida panhandle.  Mobile is also getting a huge steel plant, which further helps local economies. See my article about Mobile’s economic boom.

This is all good news to us down here in the south, but others are not taking the contract award so well. By others, I mean politicians and businesses in the states that would have benefited if Boeing would have won the contract. While I understand the disapointment, some politicians have made downright ridiculous statements. As quoted from the Birmingham News,

To hear members of Washington state’s congressional delegation tell it, the U.S. Air Force was close to traitorous in awarding Northrop Grumman Corp. and the European Aeronautic Defence & Space Co. over Boeing Co. a $35-billion contract for next-generation aerial refueling tankers.

That state’s two senators and six of its nine House members expressed outrage at the choice of a European country “and its foreign workers” to build the tanker for the U.S. military.

“This is a blow to the American aerospace industry, American workers and America’s men and women in uniform. … ,” they said Friday in a statement. “We will be asking tough questions about the decision to outsource this contract. We look forward to hearing the Air Force’s justification.”

So bringing jobs to the southeast United States is a blow to America? Sounds to me more like a lot of politicians blowing a lot of hot air.

According to Loren Thompson, a leading defense analyst at the Virginia-based Lexington Institute think tank, “This was not a close outcome in any sense of the term. Northrop won decisively and completely, and Boeing simply was not competitive in the major measures.”

“From cost, to the tanker’s performance, to the company’s ability to execute the contract, Boeing failed to beat Northrop Grumman-EADS on a single measure“, Thompson said.

Everyone in Mobile is getting excited at the prospect of an economic boom. Real estate values are rising. I hope we can generate some excitement here in Pensacola soon also.

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