Assembled in America

Prospective employees of a KC-45A tanker assembly facility in Mobile, Ala., reportedly are praising the Air Force’s decision (see above) to award the tanker contract to the Northrop Grumman/EADS team. Alabama lawmakers consider the award, despite its non-Buy American aspect, the “right decision” and “fantastic news for Alabama.” In a statement Friday, Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) said, the Northrop/EADS tanker “is by far the most superior platform in design, fuel efficiency, and overall capability. … Our state’s highly skilled workforce is ready for this challenge.” And, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) called the KC-30 “the finest aircraft available based on the needs and requirements of the military.” He added that the decision “to manufacture the KC-30 in Mobile was a clear endorsement of our state’s workforce.” Rep. Jo Bonner (R-Ala.) also believes the KC-30 “is the best choice for both the warfighter and the taxpayer,” and he, too, applauded recognition of Alabama’s “emerging aerospace industry.” However, fellow Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter of California, a staunch Buy-American advocate apparently doesn’t view assembly of the new aircraft in Alabama as enough to offset the foreign aspect. Megan Scully of Government Executive reports that Hunter is “weighing his legislative options.”