TOPEKA, Kan., April 30, 2010 — The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] today announced that Kansas will benefit from approximately 7,500 jobs and an estimated $388 million in annual economic impact if the Boeing NewGen Tanker is selected as the U.S. Air Force’s next aerial refueling aircraft.
“The national recession has hit the aviation industry hard, with thousands of Kansans out of work,” said Gov. Mark Parkinson. “The jobs from this contract can provide meaningful economic recovery to our state and country. The delays on this project have been frustrating, and unnecessary. I urge our military leaders to act swiftly and award this contract to Boeing. It’s time we bring these jobs home to Kansas.”
“I am confident that the Air Force will select Boeing to build its new tanker because I know the strength of the Kansas work force. Our workers will provide the skills and expertise that a new generation of airmen will depend on to keep America secure,” said U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback. “I am excited for Boeing to win the contract and get these tankers rolling off of the line, and excited that we are working together to create new jobs in Kansas and grow the Kansas economy.”
“This announcement today confirms what we all know to be true, that Boeing will make the best next-generation aerial refueling tanker. Boeing’s proposal is based on a proven platform founded on the expertise of a well-established pool of skilled workers,” said U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts. “The tanker proposal must be based on a level playing field and not construed to accommodate the business needs of an illegally subsidized company at the sacrifice of American servicemembers.”
“While unemployment remains high and our economy is still sluggish, nothing is more welcome news than a possible 7,500 jobs coming to Kansas. An American tanker should be built by an American company with American workers — and that is the Boeing 767 — made by our highly skilled workers here in Kansas,” said U.S. Congressman Todd Tiahrt. “I will continue to press the Pentagon for a fair and level playing field for our American workers. With an equal competition, there is no doubt that U.S. workers can compete and win this tanker contract. I look forward to seeing these high-quality jobs come home to the Sunflower State very soon.”
Boeing employees working at the Wichita, Kan., site will play an important role in modifying commercial 767 airplanes into NewGen military tankers if the company is selected for the contract. This is highly skilled work that Boeing workers in Kansas know well, having performed similar modifications in recent years on eight 767 tankers for Japan and Italy.
In addition to the 2,586 Boeing employees in Kansas, the company also works with 464 suppliers/vendors around the state, resulting in an estimated $3 billion in annual economic impact and supporting an estimated 125,000 direct and indirect Kansas jobs.
Some of the other Kansas manufacturers ready to produce critical components on the NewGen Tanker include:
- Spirit Aerosystems, Wichita — forward fuselage section
- Kaman Aerostructures, Wichita — mechanical components
- Machining Specialists, Wichita — machined metal parts
- McGinty Machine Co., Wichita — precision-machined metal parts.
The NewGen Tanker is a widebody, multi-mission aircraft based on the proven Boeing 767 commercial airplane and updated with the latest and most advanced technology. Capable of fulfilling the Air Force’s needs for transport of fuel, cargo, passengers and patients, the combat-ready NewGen Tanker is being offered as a replacement for 179 KC-135 aircraft. Boeing is writing a proposal to meet or exceed the 372 mandatory requirements described in the service’s final KC-X Request for Proposal released on Feb. 24. The Air Force is expected to award a contract later this year.
The NewGen Tanker will be made with a low-risk approach to manufacturing that relies on existing Boeing facilities in Washington state and Kansas as well as U.S. suppliers throughout the nation, with decades of experience delivering dependable military tanker and derivative aircraft. Nationwide, the NewGen Tanker program will support approximately 50,000 total U.S. jobs with Boeing and more than 800 suppliers in more than 40 states.
The Boeing NewGen Tanker also will be more cost-effective to own and operate than a larger, heavier tanker. It will save American taxpayers more than $10 billion in fuel costs over its 40-year service life because it burns 24 percent less fuel than the competitor’s airplane.
Boeing has been designing, building, modifying and supporting tankers for decades. These include the KC-135 that will be replaced in the KC-X competition, and the KC-10 fleet. The company also has delivered four KC-767Js to the Japan Air Self-Defense Force and is on contract to deliver four KC-767s to the Italian Air Force. Three of the four Italian tankers are in flight test, with the fourth airplane in production.
Picture: Rob Vogelaar, ZAP16 Group