By William Thorton, AL.com
May 09, 2017 -- Executives with an Italian company looking to produce a new U.S. Air Force jet fighter trainer were scheduled to meet with members of the Alabama Legislature today in Montgomery.
Executives with Leonardo DRS were presented with a House resolution supporting the company's bid for an Air Force contract, with State Rep. Pebblin Warren (D-Tuskegee) doing the presentation.
Leonardo DRS is in competition with three other companies seeking to assemble the trainer. At a news conference in March, officials said the contract would create 750 direct jobs and invest between $200 million to $250 million in Alabama.
If Leonardo DRS wins the contract, the manufacturing operation will be located at historic Moton Field in Tuskegee. The company would build 350 of the jets over an estimated 20 years. The jet would replace a 50-year-old trainer jet now in use.
The sealed bid will be announced by the end of 2017.
It's the latest show of support from the project, as others have come from the Alabama Senate and Gov. Key Ivey, as well as the state's congressional delegation. State and local incentives would be a little more than $100 million, including tax abatements, credits and grants, according to officials back in March.
Leonardo has teamed with its USA-owned partner, DRS, to bid on the T-X Trainer, with its version to be named the T-100.
The selection of Moton Field adds a historical touch to the bid, as it is the historic home of the Tuskegee Airmen, the black pilots and crews made famous through books and films of their exploits in World War II.