Thursday, January 29, 2009

Cargo plane possibility impresses Murtha

MOBILE, Ala. - A Congressman who will play a key role in the battle between Boeing and the Northrop Grumman/EADS over the Air Force tanker project said he was impressed to learn cargo planes would also be built in Mobile if Northrop/EADS wins the contract. Rep. John Murtha from Pennsylvania said after the visit to Mobile that the Pentagon is moving forward and expects to have a request for proposals in the spring. But he added that during the appropriations process his committee is looking at alternatives, though he did not provide specifics. But the Mobile Press-Register reports that during a luncheon, Murtha said the Air Force should buy aircraft from both Boeing and Northrop/EADS in order to break the stalemate. "I'm trying to work this problem out. Because I don't think it's going to work the way the Defense Department is trying to work it out," Murtha said. "I'm not going to say publicly a lot more because, obviously, I have to convince a lot of other people. But I have convinced myself." The Northrop/EADS team won the contract last February to build the tankers in Mobile, but a Boeing protest was upheld. The Pentagon later decided to let the new administration take on the issue. (Source: Tcp, 01/29/09)