Report | Trade and Globalization

Bailing out on America: Air Force tanker decision will ground at least 14,000 U.S. jobs

Briefing Paper #218

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Instead of selecting a competing proposal from the U.S.-based Boeing Company, the U.S. Air Force awarded a $35 billion contract in February to Northrop Grumman, who has teamed with European-based Airbus, to supply 179 air refueling tankers.1 This contract will provide replacements for its ageing fleet of 500 KC-135 tankers, which first entered into service in the 1950s. The Air Force expects to replace its entire tanker fleet, at an ultimate cost of up to $100 billion, making this the third largest contract in its history.


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