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Boeing to challenge US Air Force tanker decision

Boeing said Monday it will protest a 35 billion dollar aircraft refueling contract awarded by the US Air Force to Northrop Grumman and European aeronautics giant EADS.

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WASHINGTON, March 10 (Reuters) - Boeing Co said on Monday
it would formally challenge a decision by the U.S. Air Force to
award a $35 billion aerial tanker program to a team led by
Northrop Grumman Corp and Europe's EADS.


"This is an extraordinary step rarely taken by our company,
and one we take very seriously," said Jim McNerney, Boeing    
chairman, president and chief executive officer, in a
statement.


Boeing said it would ask the Government Accountability
Office, the investigative arm of Congress, to review the Feb.
29 decision that has triggered outrage from some U.S.
lawmakers.


Boeing said on Friday it had "significant concerns" about
the contract decision after an Air Force briefing on why it
lost the contract award.


Under the program, the Northrop/EADS team is to supply 179
tankers over 15 years. The Air Force plans to eventually
replace more than 500 of its aging fleet of KC-135 Boeing
tankers.


Boeing had offered a tanker based on its 767 commercial
jetliner but the Air Force picked the Northrop proposal for a
modified Airbus A330 airliner.

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