Posted by Courtney Howard
TOPEKA, Kan., 3 May 2010. The Boeing Co. announced that Kansas will benefit from approximately 7,500 jobs and an estimated $388 million in annual economic impact if the Boeing NewGen Tanker is selected as the U.S. Air Force's next aerial refueling aircraft.
Boeing employees working at the Wichita, Kansas, site will play an important role in modifying commercial Boeing 767 airplanes into NewGen military tankers if the company is selected for the contract. This is highly skilled work that Boeing workers in Kansas know well, having performed similar modifications in recent years on eight 767 tankers for Japan and Italy.
In addition to the 2,586 Boeing employees in Kansas, the company also works with 464 suppliers/vendors around the state, resulting in an estimated $3 billion in annual economic impact and supporting an estimated 125,000 direct and indirect Kansas jobs.
The NewGen Tanker is a widebody, multi-mission aircraft based on the proven Boeing 767 commercial airplane and updated with the latest and most advanced technology. Capable of fulfilling the Air Force's needs for transport of fuel, cargo, passengers and patients, the combat-ready NewGen Tanker is being offered as a replacement for 179 KC-135 aircraft. Boeing is writing a proposal to meet or exceed the 372 mandatory requirements described in the service's final KC-X Request for Proposal released on Feb. 24. The Air Force is expected to award a contract later this year.
The NewGen Tanker will be made with a low-risk approach to manufacturing that relies on existing Boeing facilities in Washington state and Kansas as well as U.S. suppliers throughout the nation, with decades of experience delivering dependable military tanker and derivative aircraft. Nationwide, the NewGen Tanker program will support approximately 50,000 total U.S. jobs with Boeing and more than 800 suppliers in more than 40 states.
The Boeing NewGen Tanker also will be more cost-effective to own and operate than a larger, heavier tanker. It will save American taxpayers more than $10 billion in fuel costs over its 40-year service life because it burns 24 percent less fuel than the competitor's airplane.
Boeing has been designing, building, modifying and supporting tankers for decades. These include the KC-135 that will be replaced in the KC-X competition, and the KC-10 fleet. The company also has delivered four KC-767Js to the Japan Air Self-Defense Force and is on contract to deliver four KC-767s to the Italian Air Force. Three of the four Italian tankers are in flight test, with the fourth airplane in production.