Boeing has won a $2 billion contract to build new wings for the US Air Force's Fairchild A-10 ground-attack aircraft, after beating rival bids from contractors including Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman.

Announced on 29 June, the deal calls for the delivery of 242 replacement wing kits for installation by the USAF's Ogden Air Logistics Center at Hill AFB, Utah, with the work to extend the life of the A-10 fleet by at least 20 years.

More than 700 A-10s were introduced from 1976 and, despite regular threats of retirement, the type remains one of the air force's most effective close-air support platforms.

Lockheed is performing a wider precision engagement upgrade to the aircraft, and the resulting A-10C configuration will have new avionics equipment and an expanded range of air-to-surface weapons.

Boeing has yet to select its fabrication contractors for the rewinging project, which will begin with an 18-month engineering phase and is scheduled for completion by September 2018.

Boeing Macon will put the wing kits together for installation by the air force depot. The replacement design is based on the "thick" wing fitted to late production examples of the A-10.

Meanwhile, the USAF has awarded Korean Air a contract worth $16 million to continue service-life extension work on its A-10s until 2009. The company has previously modified 180 of the type at its Gimhae facility in South Korea.

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