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Boeing will protest Air Force decision

March 10, 2008 at 8:40 PM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, March 10 (UPI) -- Officials of Boeing Co. say they will file a formal protest after losing a contract to supply the U.S. Air Force with tanker jets.

A Monday debriefing was held to discuss why Northrop Grumman and the European Aeronautic Defense and Space Co. won a $40 billion contract to refurbish the Air Force with tanker jets.

"Our tanker clearly provides the war fighter with the best capability and at the best value to the American taxpayer," Northrop Grumman vice president of Air Mobility Systems Paul Meyer, said after the meeting.

A few hours later, Boeing responded with a declaration that it will file a formal protest Tuesday, Bizjournals.com reported.

"This is an extraordinary step," said Boeing's Chief Executive Jim McNerney, declaring the Boeing plane, "the most capable, lowest risk, lowest cost."

The Air Force decision to go with Northrop-EADS over Boeing has sparked a protectionist outcry in the nation's capital.

But, the debate points on jobs and national security are questionable, The New York Times reported. Northrop-EADS promises to create 25,000 U.S. jobs, while Boeing had promised 44,000. But both companies would use overseas suppliers for parts.

And the 50-year old jet-tanker technology is too old to be a military secret anymore, analysts said.

© 2008 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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