(The Center Square) – A bipartisan group of Georgia lawmakers wants to ensure the Department of Defense holds “an open, value-based competition” when selecting “the next air-to-air tanker to meet defense strategy national”.
Lockheed Martin, which operates a plant in Marietta, designed the LMXT, a next-generation fuel tanker truck introduced in 2021. According to the company, the fuel tanker built “on the Airbus A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport’s proven combat record in boom and hose and drug refueling operations.”
Georgia lawmakers representing Cobb County and state officials argue production from the tanker could create more than 1,000 jobs for Georgians if the US Department of Defense selects Lockheed Martin. Its Marietta plant “would be involved in the second stage of production of their proposed tanker,” the lawmakers said.
“It is only through fair competition that the Air Force can be equipped with a tanker that delivers on its promise,” state lawmakers wrote in a letter to U.S. Senators John Ossoff and Raphael. Warnock, both D-Georgia.
According to state lawmakers, the US Air Force’s KC-46 air-to-air refueling tanker is a short-term solution. They claim the tanker “has left our forces desperate for a more reliable and capable aircraft.
“The KC-46 has been plagued by cost overruns, delays, faulty equipment and brazen cost-cutting measures that have undermined safety,” the lawmakers wrote. “In fact, after 11 years, the Air Force still has not received full delivery of fully operational tankers.”
Representatives Erick Allen, D-Smyrna; Teri Anulewicz, D-Smyrna; John Carson, R-Marietta; Sharon Cooper, R-Marietta; Sheila Jones, D-Atlanta; Don Parsons, R-Marietta; Devan Seabaugh, R-Marietta; Ed Setzler, R-Acworth; Erica Thomas, D-Austell; David Wilkerson, D-Powder Springs; and Mary Frances Williams, D-Marietta, and the Senses. Kay Kirkpatrick, R-East Cobb, and Michael Rhett, D-Powder Springs, signed the letter.