Thousands of jobs are at stake in tanker debate

April 10, 2008 

Why is the Jackson County Board of Supervisors urging Congress not to tamper with with a multibillion-dollar defense contract that will benefit Mobile?

Because the $35 billion contract awarded Northrop Grumman to build a new refueling tanker for the Air Force has the potential to create more than 20 000 jobs all along the Gulf Coast.

But if the contract has already been awarded, why would Congress even consider canceling it?

Because Boeing is a sore loser with political clout.

Air Force Gen. Duncan J. McNabb has said that Northrop Grumman, in partnership with EADS, won the competition to build a new refueling tanker in part because of the larger size of its aircraft — the KC-30 — will haul more fuel, more cargo and more passengers than Boeing’s 767-200.

Boeing is now trying to win by appeal what it lost in competition.

To help counter Boeing’s effort, we encourage other South Mississippi institutions and individuals to show their support of Northrop Grumman.

To find out what has been and can be done, go online to

While the tanker will be assembled at Brookley Field in Mobile, companies supplying parts will be located all along the Interstate 10 corridor. So the job you help create — or save -- might be your own.

The editorial above represents the views of the Sun Herald editorial board: Publisher Ricky R. Mathews, Executive Editor Stan Tiner, Chief Financial Officer Flora S. Point, Opinion Page Editor Marie Harris and Associate Editor Tony Biffle.

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