Montgomery, Al. (WSFA) -- Alabama is on an economic roll! From Hyundai in Montgomery to Thyssen Krupp's steel plant near Mobile.
Now a Northrop Grumman/EADS deal worth $40 billion for Mobile. So how is all this happening?
Members of Governor Bob Riley's cabinet have a lot to smile about since the state learned it was chosen for one of the biggest U.S. contracts in decades.
It's one they've been waiting for for a long time.
Alabama State Finance director Jim Main says, "We entered into these negotiations and signed a project agreement with Northrup Grumman and EADS about two years ago....but it's all been contingent on this contract from the Air Force."
And when the Air Force announced it had chosen aerospace and defense conglomerate Northrop Grumman that meant Mobile was "in", and it wasn't a difficult sell.
"We have a wonderful port that's a deep water port. We have an Air Force base that was turned over to the city of Mobile. It has one of the longest runways that's east of the Mississippi River that abuts the port," Main explains.
Air Force fighter planes don't have to land anymore to refuel. It's done in mid-air.
The company plans to build 179 of the mid-air refueling tankers in Mobile, and the prize contract won't be felt just in Alabama.
In fact Governor Riley calls it the greatest economic development that's ever come to the area saying, "You'll see it all over the state of Alabama when people start doing avionics, when they start building landing gear or when they're doing hydraulics. All of this will have a synergy affect that will reach even across state lines I believe."
And that's one of the reasons the state got the contract.
"...we had senators and governors from surrounding states to join in a letter of commitment to back this...that the surrounding states would be impacted."
Meanwhile, former contract holder Boeing is asking the U.S. Government for an explanation as to why they picked a different company (Read more on that here).
Boeing built refueling tankers for the government for over 50 years before the contract was awarded to a different company.
According to the Mobile Press Register one congressman is blaming Boeing's loss of the contract to presidential hopeful Senator John Mccain.
The congressman says Mccain exposed a corruption scheme involving Boeing in a previous deal.