February 24, 2010
The Air Force will be presented its new tanker RFP to Congress Wednesday afternoon. A $35 billion contract, to supply the Air Force with 179 new refueling tankers, is up for grabs.
Both Boeing and Northrop Grumman have been competing for the contract for more nearly a decade. Air Force Secretary Michael Donley has said either company has an opportunity to win the competition.
Northrop had said late last year it wouldn't even bid on the new contract unless the RFP was significantly changed. Members of Congress stated after today's Wednesday's hearing that the new draft doesn't differ much from the last.
If Boeing is awarded the contract, it would mean about 1,000 new jobs at the company's Wichita facility.
In a statement by Kansas Rep. Todd Tiahrt, the congressman says, "This is not the RFP I would have written but am pleased the proposal meets the needs of the warfighter and our national security. The Department of Defense made the right decision in rejecting the narrow interests of a foreign company and stayed true to the military requirements needed by our warfighters. I look forward to delving into the details more thoroughly to ensure our American workers are fully protected as we proceed with this competition."
Sen. Pat Roberts released this statement Wednesday afternoon, "I am pleased the Department of Defense has honored its commitment to run a fair competition for the tanker contract. The RFP is fair and will provide the best tanker for our men and women in uniform. While I remain concerned about WTO implications that were not addressed in the RFP, I am confident Boeing and other bidders can compete on a more level playing field.
Congressman Jerry Moran made this statement: "We learned today that the third round of tanker contract bidding will be an improvement over previous attempts. This competition will be more fair, though I am disappointed that the Air Force refuses to level the playing field for American companies, despite our insistence. Modernizing our Eisenhower-era tanker fleet is vital for the safety of our military personnel and the security of our country, and I hope this process can now move forward to completion."
This is the third time in nine years that the United States had restarting the bidding process for the refueling tankers. The Pentagon hopes to award a contract by September.
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