The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] on friday announced that Illinois will benefit from an estimated 3,300 direct and indirect jobs if it is selected to build the U.S. Air Force’s new tanker aircraft fleet. The economic activity generated in Illinois will exceed an estimated $140 million annually.
„Our state has a strong and capable aerospace industry — one that is ready and able to deliver the U.S. Air Force’s next-generation tanker,“ said Illinois Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich.
Boeing formally submitted its proposal to the Air Force on April 10. The offering, the KC-767 Advanced Tanker, is designed for aerial refueling of other aircraft, but also is able to move cargo, passengers, patients and medical crewmembers. These capabilities, combined with best-in-competition fuel efficiency, global flexibility and space usage, provide a strong value proposition to the Air Force.
„Illinois brings forth a great deal of talent and experience from its aerospace industry. That’s why we’re thrilled to have key companies in the Land of Lincoln join our KC-767 Advanced Tanker team,“ said Ron Marcotte, vice president and general manager of Boeing Global Mobility Systems.
Illinois industry will provide KC-767 Advanced Tanker development, manufacturing, test and evaluation, and support for key avionic, electrical, hydraulic, and mechanical aerospace systems and components.
Nationwide, 44,000 Americans and 300 suppliers will design, build and support the Boeing KC-767 Advanced Tanker.
Boeing will assemble the tanker at its facilities in Everett, Wash., using many of the same manufacturing processes that produced almost 1,000 highly reliable and maintainable commercial Boeing 767s. Installation of military refueling systems and flight test activities will take place at the company’s finishing center in Wichita, Kan.
The Boeing Global Tanker Team producing the KC-767 Advanced Tanker includes Vought Aircraft Industries, Pratt & Whitney, Rockwell Collins, Smiths Aerospace, Honeywell, Spirit AeroSystems and Delta TechOps. This experienced group of partners has proven expertise in aerial refueling systems, network centric operations, integrated avionics solutions and lean manufacturing concepts, which will offer the Air Force high levels of reliability and unique technical advancements.
Boeing has been designing, building, modifying and supporting tankers for nearly 75 years, with hundreds of KC-135s and KC-10s currently in service with the Air Force. The company is flying KC-767s today and has logged nearly 1,000 hours on the tanker platform. Recently, Boeing demonstrated its advanced air refueling systems by transferring fuel through its fifth-generation boom and extending and retracting the fuselage-mounted and wing-mounted air refueling hoses, both critical milestones for the KC-767 program.