It took awhile, but the Air Force finally made the right decision in awarding Boeing a $35 billion aerial tanker contract.
If only Thursday's announcement would bring an end the controversial competition between Boeing and the European Aeronautic Defense and Space Co., or EADS.
But it probably won't.
The contract for 179 new tankers is just the beginning. It's a deal that could expand to more than $100 billion as the Air Force replaces its entire fleet of about 600 aging tankers.
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That kind of money is bound to spur political and legal battles, but further delays aren't in the nation's best interest. American legislators, at the very least, ought to help expedite the award.
Three years ago, when the Air Force gave EADS the nod, we called it a dumb decision. It was.
We have a parochial interest in Boeing's success. The Chicago-based aerospace giant said it's prepared to create 11,000 jobs in Washington.
Few, if any, will land in the Tri-Cities, but the benefits of a healthier economy will be felt statewide.
But awarding the massive contract to an American company over a French consortium is good for the entire country.
Overall, the project will support 50,000 jobs with more than 800 suppliers in more than 40 states, reported the Herald's Washington, D.C., correspondent, Rob Hotakainen.
More importantly, the contract is needed to ensure America maintains its pre-eminence in aerospace manufacturing. That's reason enough to keep this work at home.