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Last updated 8:40AM ET
March 1, 2021
Boeing To Protest Tanker Contract
(APR - Alabama Public Radio ) - There's a hitch in Mobile getting the assembly plant for refueling tankers for the Air Force.

Boeing says it will formally protest a $35 billion Air Force contract awarded to European Aeronautic Defence and Space and Northrop Grumman. The two companies had selected Mobile for their assembly plant.

But Boeing says it has serious concerns about the fairness of the selection process.

Boeing's chairman and CEO, Jim McNerney, says filing an appeal is a step taken rarely by the company.

Representatives from EADS and the Air Force did not immediately have any comment.

Boeing hinted at the basis for its protest. It claimed the Air Force changed its method for evaluating the two tankers even after issuing a request for proposals. Boeing said these changes allowed a larger tanker to be competitive even though the Air Force originally had called for a medium-sized plane. Air Force officials have indicated that the larger size of the tanker offered by the EADS/Northrop team helped tip the balance in its favor.

Once Boeing files its protest, the Government Accountability Office will have 100 days to issue a ruling. A defense analyst, Loren Thompson, says a protest could delay execution of the tanker contract by nearly a year.

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