Lockheed Martin has selected the US states of Alabama and Georgia as the manufacturing locations for its LMXT strategic tanker aircraft.

The tanker is being offered as a US-built, allied interoperable solution for the upcoming KC-Y ‘Bridge Tanker’ programme competition of the US Air Force. LMXT was unveiled in September last year.

The decision to build the LMXT in Mobile, Alabama; and Marietta, Georgia, will create skilled aerospace work and support job growth in the states.

Lockheed Martin chairman, president and CEO James Taiclet said: “Establishing this production work in Alabama and Georgia confirms Lockheed Martin’s commitment that the LMXT will be built in America, by Americans, for Americans.

“The LMXT will strengthen global security by enabling our US service members to carry out their most critical missions at extended ranges.

“At home, the LMXT will strengthen job growth and manufacturing by drawing on the experience and talents of a high-tech American workforce in two states that are proven leaders in aviation.”

In 2018, Lockheed Martin and Airbus reached an aerial refuelling memorandum of agreement (MOA).

As a result of this MOA, the LMXT has been developed based on the design of Airbus A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT), which is already a combat-proven aircraft.

It will be built in two phases. In the first phase, the tanker will be manufactured as a commercial A330 airliner and then converted into an LMXT.

Work on the first phase will be performed at Airbus’ facility in Mobile and the conversion process will be carried out at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics’ Marietta facility in Georgia.

Airbus Americas chairman and CEO Jeffrey Knittel said: “Over our 50-year history in the US, some of our proudest moments have come from supporting our American service members.

“Our US workforce, which is more than 35% military veterans, is eager to see an Air Force tanker join the fleet of Airbus aircraft flying for the US Army, National Guard, Navy and Coast Guard.”