“Today’s announcement by Northrup Grumman is a significant development in what has been a long effort to get a new and much needed air refueling tanker to our military. Secretary of Defense Gates has personally assured me that he is going to move ahead with this bidding process regardless of the number of bidders. It appears that as a result of Northrop’s decision not to bid on the tanker and not to protest the Pentagon’s request for proposal (RFP) that Washington will be the beneficiary of more than 12,000 jobs, with over 50,000 jobs associated with this contract nationwide. The Boeing NewGen Tanker team has nearly 70 suppliers currently on the team. Both of these numbers are expected to grow as Boeing finalizes its offering. Moreover, these are jobs for the long term, as we expect this contract to play out over 20 to 30 years.
“We want to get the best price for the taxpayer and the most capable aircraft for the warfighter. The Department of Defense has the ability to make that happen. Under Department of Defense regulations, the Department of Defense is required to get the best value for U.S. taxpayers, even in the case of a single-source contract. That’s the law.
“The main engineering and manufacturing jobs associated with this contract for Boeing will remain in Washington state. We have the best work force and infrastructure to take on this project. And I believe that the smaller, more versatile plane proposed by Boeing was the better answer to the military’s needs. Boeing has already built more than 2,000 tankers over the past 60 years. Because Boeing is already building the military version of the 767 aircraft, Boeing’s 767-based tanker fleet will be ready to fight from day one.”