Macon Co. passed over for billion-dollar Air Force project
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) – The next generation training aircraft will not be built in an Alabama county.
The U.S. Air Force passed on a project to bring the making of the T-100 training jet to Macon County, Al.com reported . A partnership by Boeing and Saab won a $9.2 billion contract to produce at least 351 training jets for the U.S. Air Force.
Officials say the billion-dollar project would have brought an estimated 750 direct jobs to Macon County. Italian firm Leonardo DRS proposed building the T-100, a new version of a jet fighter trainer it already supplies for Italy, Israel, Poland and Singapore.
Leonardo DRS is an affiliate of the company that builds jet fighter trainers for several of America’s allies. It was one of the bidders on the project and has chosen Macon County as the plant site if it won the contract.
The bid centered on the history surrounding Moton Field and its association with the Tuskegee Airmen.
Alabama Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield said the region was able to gain exposure despite being passed over.
“While we are disappointed that the Air Force chose an alternate for Leonardo DRS and the T-100 as its next jet trainer aircraft, it’s extremely positive that Tuskegee’s Moton Field has been recognized internationally as an ideal site for an aerospace project,” Canfield said.
Canfield added: “Leonardo DRS is a world-class company, and their team has been great to work with throughout the selection process. Additionally, I commend officials at the City of Tuskegee, Macon County and Tuskegee University for their hard work on this project, which has united the community and the region. In particular, Joe Turnham (director of the Macon County Economic Development Authority), who put his heart and soul into the project, deserves special recognition.”