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A.V. LOSES WORK ON PLANE BOEING GETS PACT FOR OCEAN-PATROL CRAFT.

Byline: Jim Skeen Staff Writer

PALMDALE - Boeing will develop a new ocean-patrol aircraft out its 737 airliner, Pentagon officials announced Monday, edging out a Lockheed Martin proposal that had included work in Palmdale.

Boeing's multimission maritime aircraft contract is potentially worth $15 billion over a 10-year production run and could employ some 1,600 people in Seattle, Maryland and St. Louis, Boeing said.

Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co. had proposed an updated version of its 1950s-era P-3 aircraft it called the Orion21. Had Lockheed Martin won the competition, it had planned to assemble the first planes in Palmdale.

``We are obviously disappointed by the decision,'' Lockheed Martin spokeswoman Dianne Knippel said. ``We believe our MMA solution met or exceeded all the specified key performance parameters and offered the best value to the Navy. We have requested and are anxiously awaiting the post-award debrief to better understand the basis for the decisions.''

The loss to Boeing will not cut Palmdale jobs, Knippel said.

``We still have a very good business base in Palmdale,'' Knippel said.

The two proposals had been closely matched. Pentagon officials said one of the major reasons for choosing Boeing was the ability to tap into an existing aircraft production line to both build the aircraft and conduct future modifications.

The Navy wants a maritime patrol aircraft that can conduct reconnaissance and intelligence missions as well as anti-submarine and surface ship warfare. The Navy hopes to begin fielding the aircraft in 2013.

The Navy wants 109 new multimission maritime aircraft to replace the aging fleet of 223 Lockheed-built P-3C Orion aircraft.

The initial contract is for $3.9 billion to further develop the plane and to build the first seven aircraft.

Jim Skeen, (661) 267-5743

james.skeen(at)dailynews.com
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 15, 2004
Words:291
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