Airbus won the Air Force's $35 billion contract for aerial refueling aircraft not only with a more competitive tanker, the New York Times reports, but by competing more aggressively. The French company, partnered with Northrup Grumman, built on spec a new plane-to-plane fuel boom and demonstrated it, while Boeing promised one but didn't build a prototype. Boeing offered an initial delivery of 19 planes by 2013, compared to Airbus’ offer of 49.
And, Air Force sources said, Boeing officials were arrogant. "The Boeing team was not responsive and often was not even polite,” says one analyst. Boeing got a briefing from the Pentagon on why it lost the contract Friday and has to decide by Wednesday whether to appeal. Critics have called the contract “outsourcing our national security,” but a Times analysis shows that it's difficult to tell which bid would support more American jobs.