It took a decade and two false starts, but Boeing has finally landed the massive Air Force contract to build the military's next generation of refueling planes, reports the Seattle News. The decision surprised plenty of defense analysts who figured that the $35 billion contract would go to Europe's EADS, which planned to build the tankers in Alabama, much to the delight of Gulf Coast politicians.
Boeing says the deal secures 11,000 jobs in Washington state when factoring in all the businesses that serve its workers. The contract has been awarded twice before—to Boeing in 2001 and to EADS/Northrop Grumman in 2008—only to be yanked back both times amid challenges and controversy. EADS has a short window in which it can challenge today's decision, but a top official said previously that it probably wouldn't contest a Boeing win. (Read more Air Force stories.)