Planning For a Positive Outcome

Northrop Grumman and EADS North America plan to hold a ground-breaking ceremony June 28 Brookley Field in Mobile, Ala., to mark the start of construction for their adjoining manufacturing plants where they will assemble the Air Force’s new KC-45A tanker aircraft, the companies announced May 13. The ceremony is scheduled for nine days after the Government Accountability Office’s stated deadline for ruling on the legal protest filed by Boeing over the Air Force’s choice of the Northrop Grumman-EADS aircraft over its own KC-767 design. Thus, Northrop Grumman and EADS said the ceremony is “pending the outcome” of GAO’s review. “We anticipate a favorable decision and look forward to starting construction on this historic facility,” said Northrop CEO Ronald Sugar. “This event underscores the fact that we are ready to get to work now.” EADS will be responsible for final assembly, test and certification of the basic airframe at its Mobile facility. Northrop Grumman will then modify the aircraft to the Air Force’s military specifications at its plant. The two plants are expected to create about 1,500 jobs in the Mobile area, the Birmingham Business Journal reported May 13.