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Mobile hopes to win Pentagon refueling tanker contract

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European plane maker Airbus is teaming up with Lockheed Martin to compete to build the LMXT strategic tanker in Mobile and Marietta, Georgia. If the Pentagon picks Airbus-Lockheed for the job, it will mean major jobs and investments in Mobile. Both companies hope that the Air Force will pick the new tankers to replace its current aging fleet of refueling planes.

“We expect this 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 Area Chamber of Commerce. “That will be a new final assembly line being constructed and we expect this to be an over $450 million investment of Airbus in the community.”

Mobile and Airbus apparently won this contract back in 2008, but the Pentagon changed its mind in favor of giving the job to Boeing. The current contract talks appear to be setting the stage for a showdown between the three aerospace companies. Rodgers appears to welcome the fight.

“We wanted another shot at this contract. Our community backed Airbus and really backed that contract the first time and we’re going to back it again,” Rodgers said.

Airbus and Lockheed Martin are teaming up for this bid for the new Air Force refueling tanker. The new aircraft would be based on an A320 aircraft built in Mobile.

Guy Busby is an Alabama native and lifelong Gulf Coast resident. He has been covering people, events and interesting occurrences on America’s South Coast for more than 20 years. His experiences include riding in hot-air balloons and watching a ship being sunk as a diving reef. His awards include a national Sigma Delta Chi award from the Society of Professional Journalists as part of the APR team on the series “Oil and Water,” on the anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Some of his other interests include writing, photography and history. He and his wife, Elizabeth, live in Silverhill.
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