LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - After months of anxious anticipation Northrop Grumman has won the coveted Air Force contract to maintain and service the KC-10 refueling tankers. It's a prize won after a united effort by local leaders in southwest Louisiana. The KC-10 has played a prominent role in supporting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in addition to humanitarian efforts around the world.
The Air Force's refueling fleet includes about 59 KC-10's purchased in the 70's. In May, at the Chennault International Airport former U.S. Senator John Breaux came representing Northrop Grumman to rally support for Northrop to get the KC-10 maintenance contract worth $3.8 billion dollars. "This would be a contract that would be worth between two and a half billion to three point eight billion dollars over the life of the contract. This is a big deal. It's a big deal not just for Lake Charles Mayor, but for all of Southwest Louisiana and even more than that for the whole State of Louisiana because this is something you can build on."
The 2 year contest was between Northrop Grumman and rival Boeing and Northrop Grumman has won. Calcasieu police jurors found out at their meeting. Administrator Mark McMurry told them, "The contract has been awarded to Grumman. It was a competitive contract. They're talking about an economic impact of between 18 and 35 million dollars a year as a result of this. That's a big deal for this community."
Police Jury President Hal McMillin says it's a major victory for those working for economic development. "This is really big. This is tremendous for Calcasieu Parish. We were running against San Anton. And I'm going to tell you I love going to San Anton. It's a beautiful city. But when Lake Charles and Calcasieu Parish can beat out San Anton and whatever county they're in this is big for us. And it's going to be great jobs. They had a great effort by the folks at Chennault."
Boeing has serviced the KC-10's for years, but the current contract expires in January. The contract to maintain the KC-10 refueling tanker fleet is expected to mean up to 300 jobs paying between $45,000 and $50,000 a year.
U.S. Senator David Vitter announced the contract today saying it will provide a much needed economic boost as the area continues recovery from recent hurricanes. Senator Mary Landrieu praised the award as well and says it's a show of confidence in the skilled workers of Southwest Louisiana.