A new federal study has concluded that Pentagon plans to stop buying Boeing's C- 17 cargo plane after the current contract expires would remove as much as $8.4 billion from the U.S. economy and eliminate more than 25,000 jobs nationwide. The plane, assembled by Boeing in Long Beach, CA, is supported by 702 suppliers in 42 states. Production is scheduled to end when the current Air Force contract expires in 2008.
According to the Los Angeles Daily News, the Department of Commerce study says many of the plane's suppliers would be would be forced to cease operations; production of the Apache helicopter and other aircraft tied to the C-17 would have to move; and plans to make the aircraft commercially available to foreign buyers would be quashed. The DOC study was requested by the Pentagon to evaluate the possibility of selling older C-17s to commercial enterprises, an endeavor that could not take place if plane production ceased. The newspaper noted that California officials have said they will use the study to press the administration to replace funding for C-17 production in the FY 2007 budget.