Lockheed: Winning bid would create 1,000 Marietta jobs in 2024

Lockheed Martin to compete for Air Force contract

Lockheed Martin is part of a team chasing an Air Force contract that could bring 1,000 jobs to Marietta.

The Air Force is considering building a new refueling tanker plane, the KC-Y, but first must request and review proposals from potential contractors. Then it would begin a bid process.

Lockheed said Monday it will submit a bid in partnership with Europe’s Airbus, which would build the plane in Mobile, Alabama, then fly the aircraft to Marietta where Lockheed would convert them to tankers.

“A lot has got to happen for us to win this competition,” said Lockheed spokesman Rob Fuller.

Work would begin no sooner than 2024, he said.

The Air Force proposal calls for between 140 and 160 aircraft with the first deliveries due in 2029.

Boeing is also expected to bid on the KC-Y tanker, and other aerospace and defense contractors may submit bids, according to media reports.

However, Boeing is struggling to complete a separate project for another Air Force tanker jet. Boeing won the KC-46 project in 2011, but technical difficulties have delayed its completion.

Lockheed picked Marietta for the potential future assignment over its two other major manufacturing facilities in Fort Worth, Texas, and Palmdale, California.

Lockheed would perform the tanker conversions at its existing L-10 building in Marietta, Fuller said. No additional facilities would be constructed. Lockheed employs about 4,700 workers in Cobb County.