The Department of Defense says the announcement on the tanker decision will come at 4:10 Central Time today.

Deputy Secretary of Defense William Lynn will make the announcement. He will be joined by Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition Technology and Logistics Ashton Carter, Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz.

Expect more on this story on Eyewitness Newscasts, here at kwch.com, and on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/kwchnews) where you can join in the discussion. Share your thoughts on the decision and what it means for Boeing, Kansas and the country.

You can find out more about the tanker, the bids, read our past stories and watch videos by clicking on the links at the left side of this page.

------------------------------

A Kansas lawmaker says the U.S. Air Force will likely announce Thursday which airplane maker will get the contract to build a fleet of tankers.

Kansas Senator Jerry Moran says he and other members of the Kansas delegation have a conference call scheduled with the Pentagon tomorrow afternoon at 3:50. Various media are reporting a news conference in Washington at 4:00 Central Time.

Boeing and rival EADS have submitted final proposals to build the aircraft. The initial contract for 179 planes is believed to be worth between $35-40 billion.

The Department of Defense is preparing for a protest from whichever company loses.

In the past few weeks, governors and lawmakers from the two states that stand to benefit most from a Boeing win, Kansas and Washington, have lobbied the Obama Administration and the Pentagon on the company's behalf.

“Job creation in the United States should start with the procurement of a Boeing tanker,” said Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS) at a news conference last week. “Awarding this contract to Boeing will create an estimated 7,500 jobs and represents an annual $388 million economic impact to Kansas. Boeing’s proposal is based on a proven platform founded on the expertise of Kansas workers. It is time to award this contract and put folks to work.”

Eyewitness News caught up with Senator Jerry Moran Wednesday night. He adds, while a Boeing contract would mean majority of jobs would be based in Wichita, the impact would spread state-wide.

"We have so many subcontractors throughout Kansas that make parts and do smaller jobs for Boeing and so we'd see a significant increase, not only in employment, but additional jobs that occur across the state in meeting the needs of that contract."

We also sat down with Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer who said as of Wednesday afternoon, he hadn't heard any news regarding the contract.

"If it comes our way, great things will fall in line for what we see in 2011. If it does not come our way that would be a sad day for the Wichita community and the state of Kansas if we were unable to secure that additional work."

Boeing's proposal is a modified 767 tanker that would be assembled at the company's Everett, Washington facility. Modification work would happen in Wichita.

EADS, the parent company of Airbus, would build its tanker in Mobile, Alabama. EADS promises to create 48,000 American jobs. It's entry is a modified A330.

It's taken more than a decade just to award the contract to replace the approx. 600 Eisenhower-era planes.

Former Congressman Todd Tiahrt told Eyewitness News over the phone on Wednesday, "I've been working on this for 10 years and I want to see a successful conclusion, and for me success means an American tanker made by American workers and an American company.

Boeing won the contract originally, but the contract was thrown out in an ethics scandal. EADS won the next bid in 2008, but its partner, Northrop Grumman eventually dropped out. Boeing challenged the outcome and force another competition.