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Boeing Files Protest Over USAF Tanker Contract

As my readers know, I’ve been following the developments in the U.S. Air Force contract which was awarded to Northrop Grummon Corp and its partner Europeean Aeronautic Defense and Space Co (EADS). My interest mainly concerns the effect this contract could have on not only Mobile Alabama, but also Pensacola Florida and other areas of the Gulf Coast.  Los Angeles-based Northrop and its bidding partner, EADS North America, won the 179-plane contract on Feb. 29. The companies plan to assemble their tankers in a pair of new plants at the Brookley Field Industrial Complex, creating 1,500 jobs. For more on this contract award, read my previous article on Pensacola Real Estate News.

And the saga continues. Boeing today officially filed a protest over the award of the contract.  “Our team has taken a very close look at the tanker decision and found serious flaws in the process that we believe warrant appeal,” Jim McNerney, chairman and chief executive officer of Boeing said yesterday.

This contract award has already caused a lot of bitterness among lawmakers whose represented areas stand to gain jobs from this contract award. Some lawmakers have even threatened to block funding for the contract awarded Feb. 29 to Northrop and EADS, the parent of Boeing rival Airbus because the partners plan to do about 40 percent of their work in Europe on the 179-plane order. The Boeing protest will trigger a 100-day suspension of the contract during the review.

“I don’t think their chances are good” in getting the award overturned”, Jon Kutler, head of Los Angeles-based investment firm Admiralty Partners Inc., said in an interview.  According to Kutler, the Air Force dotted every “i” and crossed every `t’ because they knew how politically charged the whole thing would be.”  The Air Force is not commenting.

Boeing estimates its plan would support 44,000 U.S. jobs. Northrop today almost doubled its projection for U.S. employment to 48,000, saying it revised the formula that had produced the earlier “conservative” estimate of 25,000.

EADS and Northrop plan to ship the components to Mobile, Alabama, where they’ll construct an assembly plant for both the military and commercial-freighter versions. Boeing planned to do the main tanker work at its facilities in Everett, Washington, and Wichita, Kansas.

Lawmakers including Representative John Murtha, a Pennsylvania Democrat and head of the House Appropriations Committee’s defense panel, threatened to cancel funding if the Air Force didn’t explain why much of the work was given to a foreign company.

Alabama political leaders said they were disappointed by Boeing’s decision to protest but said the company had the right to an independent review.  “This was one of the most open, fair, and transparent competitions in the Pentagon’s history,” said U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Mobile.

How this will play out remains to be seen. From everything I’ve read, I expect the contract award to be upheld. For the sake of our economy, I hope so.

  1. Georgia Commercial Real Estate

    Hmmmm….. kinda makes you wish the goverment could step in with some incentives to keep jobs in US and people will work and buy homes and we will prosper.

    I would have rather seen my $600 sent to a project like this wouldn’t you?

    Americans need good paying jobs to afford median price homes that when bought will allow the economy to return to a positive one.

  2. Homes For Sale In Blue Ridge Georgia

    What this would mean to the Katrina area with more jobs. Louisianna, Mississippi and Alabama were devasted by Katrina and why not bring work back so the people can return an build communities.

    I agree seems like some sort of intervention could be done on the goverments part to see the work remains in US.

  3. Karl

    This will have a positive affect on the whole Gulf Coast area between Louisiana and the Florida panhandle. And we do desperately need it. I believe all the politicians screaming about keeping jobs in America are just blowing a lot of hot air. If they really cared, there are lots of ways to keep the thousands of jobs going overseas in America, but I’ll bet none of them are doing a thing about it. They are just screaming to make sure the area they represent thinks they are doing something about it. Of course if Boeing won the contract and Northrop protested, they would be screaming that Northrop was interfering with the military trying to defend our country.

    Thanks for your comments. I’ll get off my soapbox now.

  4. Luxury Real Estate In Florida

    I had not heard of this and I agree it would be so beneficial to that area. I guess all we can do is write out legislatures and try to get the story in the news in the media. That is alot of jobs a tremendous amount what it could mean for so many just the kind of start to rebuiding that this area would need. Maybe if we all email this to locals news station the AP will pick it up and it might get some more media. I think also bringing it to the stars who have gone to New Orleans and those areas trying to rebuild and they have the exposer to the press. This is probably one of the most important blogs I have ever read that could actually do so much for many. Empowering post!

  5. Real Estate In Cocoa FL

    This would be a boost to any community and I hate to see outsourcing of good paying jobs as well. It could be the industry that turns that area around and provides a income to return to that area and rebuild.

  6. Homes For Sale In Blue Ridge Mountains

    It is jobs that make a community secure and this would do the job for so many surrounding towns. Real estate and jobs play an important role in how a town grows and this can only be good for any town.

  7. Blue Ridge Georgia Cabin Rentals

    I know you can’t see me but I am sitting here shaking my head and what could they be thinking. Especially in that area. Hmmm… maybe thats why. I feel for the people of Katrina. We are taught to prepare for 3 days with services to have water and food. When Fema does come water comes on day 3 and day 5 is food. For Katrina victims it was day 5 for water and day 8 for food and not enough. This is a problem as many only plan for 3 and when you have to quickly abandon your home by roof top there no bringing provisions. I do think the goverment has turned there head on this area and here is another example of the big business following.

  8. Lake Blue Ridge Georgia Real Estate

    Having a large company can bring great prosperity to an area and when they leave devastation. Trying to find many business to support a community is also important. What they need to do is offer incentives to all business to relocate there and to get this area back on there feet.