Mobile hopes to win Pentagon tanker contract
European aircraft manufacturer Airbus is partnering with Lockheed Martin to help build the LMXT strategic tanker in Mobile and Marietta, Georgia. If the Pentagon chooses Airbus-Lockheed for the job, it will mean jobs and major investment in Mobile. The two companies hope the Air Force will select the new tankers to replace its current aging fleet of tanker aircraft.
“We expect there will be at least 400 new direct jobs associated with the Airbus final assembly line,” said David Rodgers, vice president of economic development at the Mobile Region Chamber of Commerce. “It will be a new final assembly line being built and we anticipate it will be an investment of more than $450 million from Airbus in the community.”
Mobile and Airbus reportedly won that contract in 2008, but the Pentagon changed its mind in favor of giving the job to Boeing. Ongoing contract negotiations appear to be paving the way for a showdown between the three aerospace companies. Rodgers appears to welcome the fight.
“We wanted another chance to win that contract. Our community supported Airbus and really supported this contract the first time around and we will support it again,” Rodgers said.
Airbus and Lockheed Martin are teaming up for this offer of the new Air Force tanker. The new aircraft would be based on an A320 aircraft built in Mobile.