Boeing Air Force contract would bring 300 jobs, $14 million to Oregon

Boeing Air Force contract would bring 300 jobs, $14 million to Oregon

By Jacq Lacy and Ben Jacklet

Boeing anticipates the creation of 300 jobs and $14 million in annual impact in Oregon if the company wins its bid to build the Boeing NewGen Tanker for the U.S. Air Force.

The U.S. Air Force plans to select a bid winner early next year for the $35 billion contract. The two front-runners are Boeing and its European rival EADS, the parent company of Airbus.  Some of the NewGen Tanker work would be completed in Gresham, where Boeing already employs 1,552 people.

The NewGen Tanker is modeled after the Boeing 767 commercial airplane, and designed to carry fuel, cargo and passengers.

Boeing uses more than 300 independent suppliers and vendors in Oregon, said Mark De Voss, supplier management director of Boeing Tanker Programs, in a statement. Companies that would gain from the contract include:

Air Oil Products
QPM Aerospace

Ran Tech Engineering

Meggitt Polymer Solutions

Northwest Rubber Extruders

Rosen Sunvisor Systems

In Oregon, Boeing has 1,552 employees and over 307 merchants. These Boeing employees and contract companies provide for an estimated $177 million impact per year.

Boeing predicts that the construction of the NewGen Tanker would create about 50,000 Boeing jobs and require upwards of 800 suppliers nationally.

In a decision the Seattle Times called a "shocking upset," the European conglomerate EADS beat out Boeing for the air tanker contract in February 2008. The Air Force later put the contract back out to bid following political pressure from Boeing allies.