Thursday, February 18, 2010

New tanker battleground

A Northrop Grumman team was in North Carolina Wednesday to enlist the state as an ally in the battle to build Air Force tankers. Boeing and Northrop both want to win a $40 billion contract to build tankers. Northrop won the contract two years ago, but Boeing successfully had it overturned. Northrop has said it won't submit a bid if the current draft for proposal, which it says favors the smaller Boeing plane, isn't changed. The Northrop team told state officials a Northrop/EADS win would mean 1,500 jobs in the state. Rep. Pryor Gibson said that if Northrop's numbers are true, he'll write to the Pentagon and White House in support. (Source: Raleigh News Observer, 02/18/10) Meanwhile, the Air Force is bracing for a possible sole-source bid from Boeing. Lt. Gen. Mark Shackelford, military deputy in charge of acquisition for the Air Force, said the Pentagon is following a policy of "don't change anything that potentially favors one competitor over another." The Pentagon expects to release the final terms for the competition between Feb. 23 and the end of the month. (Source: Reuters, 02/18/10) Gulf Coast note: The Northrop and EADS plans to assemble the planes in Mobile, Ala., if they win the contract.