Montgomery, Al. (WSFA) -- Alabama wins bragging rights with the announcement that another multi-billion dollar contract is coming here. Alabama has had much success in luring car manufactures and a steel plant to the state; now it's aircrafts. Big ones.
A government contract to build 179 large refueling aircraft for the United States Air Force was awarded to Northrop Grumman-EADS Corp. Friday. The European company beat out American-based Boeing Corp. for the contract. The new planes will replace the United States Air Force's aging fleet of Boeing KC-135 airplanes.
Mobile, Alabama will be the assembly site for the estimated $40 billion aircraft manufacturing contract. An estimated 2,000 aerospace industry jobs are expected to be created as a result of the win.
Alabama Governor Bob Riley says, "To say this is a great day for Alabama is a monumental understatement. This will go down in history as one of our greatest days. "This announcement is the fulfillment of a dream that began three years ago, and that dream was to bring high-paying aerospace jobs to Mobile. It was a dream to provide the men and women of our military with the best and most efficient aerial refueling tanker. Those dreams are being fulfilled and they will be made a reality in our state. "The selection of Northrop Grumman-EADS is the result of extremely hard work by a unified team from the company, the state, the federal government and Mobile. I congratulate everyone involved and thank them for all they've done."
This is the second major industrial annoucement in less than a year for the Mobile area. German steelmaker ThyssenKrupp is currently building a multi-billion steelplant in the area.
But it's not good news for Northrop Grumman-EADS's rival airplane manufacturer, Boeing Corp. Boeing was counting on the contract, and according to a Seattle Times report, the company will close its Boeing 767 assembly line in 2012 after current orders run out. No jobs are expected to be lost in the closure, but thousands of new jobs will not materialize either.