Monday, March 03, 2008
On this day:

A big deal for Alabama

In case y'all missed this story last week:

The U.S. Air Force on Friday named Northrop Grumman Corp. and EADS North America to build its next-generation fleet of aerial refueling tankers, spurning a bid from rival Boeing Co. in a surprise decision that could launch a new era of jet production in Mobile.

The Air Force made its choice after a fierce competition between the two teams for one of the single largest defense contracts in U.S. history. Estimated at up to $40 billion, the deal includes 179 planes to be delivered over the next 15 years. Boeing was regarded as a heavy favorite by defense analysts and other experts who cited the Chicago-based company's political clout and its legacy of building commercial and military aircraft.

"To say this is a great day for Alabama is a monumental understatement," said Gov. Bob Riley. "This will go down in history as one of our greatest days."

Los Angeles-based Northrop and its partner, a subsidiary of the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co., plan to assemble and modify their tankers in a pair of new plants at the Brookley Field Industrial Complex, creating 1,500 jobs.

- Mobile Press-Register

Boeing is threatening to fight the decision, objecting to the fact that EADS is a foreign company, while casually ignoring the fact that Northrop Grumman is an American company and that most of the suppliers for the new aircraft will also be American companies.

For more from the Mobile Press-Register, click the links below:
"Mobile on a Roll"

"Next challenge: find the work force"

"Weapons chief praises tanker selection process"

"Tanker win excites Brookley neighbors"

"Tanker project boosts efforts to build aerospace industry in Mobile and region"

"Suppliers are sought"


"Obama critical of deal"