Lockheed Martin and European aerospace firm Airbus have announced that they will manufacture the LMXT strategic tanker aircraft in Mobile, Alabama, and Marietta, Georgia.
The announcement was made at Flight Works Alabama and attended by several political figures, including Governor Kay Ivey, Senator Tommy Tuberville, Senator Richard Shelby, and Mayor Sandy Stimpson.
The LMXT tanker aircraft is a variant of the Airbus 330 and will be utilized by the military to refuel fighter, transport, and maritime patrol aircraft mid-air. The project was Lockheed’s submission for the US Air Force “Bridge Tanker” program competition.
According to the company, the plane will first be produced as an A330 airliner at the Airbus facility in Mobile. It will then be sent to Lockheed’s aeronautics facility in Marietta for phase two, converting the commercial aircraft into the LMXT tanker.
“The LMXT represents the newest chapter in Lockheed Martin’s 60-plus year history of producing and delivering tanker and large aircraft for the US Air Force, US Marine Corps, US Navy, and multiple operators around the world,” Lockheed said in a press release.
‘Built in America, by Americans, for Americans’
In 2018, Lockheed and Airbus entered into an agreement to explore viable aerial refueling solutions to address potential capacity shortfalls for the US Air Force.
Lockheed CEO James Taiclet said that establishing production work in the states of Alabama and Georgia only confirms the company’s commitment that the LMXT tanker aircraft will be “built in America, by Americans, for Americans.”
He also asserted that the aircraft will strengthen global security by enabling the US military to carry out critical missions at extended ranges.
Taiclet also stated that the project will strengthen job growth by drawing on the experience and talents of a high-tech American workforce, particularly in Alabama and Georgia.
The contract will create around 1,300 jobs, according to a report by Mobile television station WKRG.