Pentagon to Re-Open $35B Air Force Tanker Bid

By Caroline Miller,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 9, 2008 12:16 PM CDT
In this artist's depiction provided by Northrop Grumman Corp., a KC-45A refuels a B-2 stealth bomber. Congressional investigators Wednesday June 18, 2008 have upheld Boeing's protest of a $35 billion...   (AP Photo/Northrop Grumman Corp, FILE)
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(Newser) – The Pentagon will re-open a $35 billion contract to build the Air Force's fleet of new refueling tankers and pick a new winner by the end of the year, congressional sources say. The Office of the Secretary of Defense—not the Air Force—will oversee the new competition between Boeing Co. and a team led by Northrop Grumman Corp.

The plan, which hands control to the Pentagon's top acquisition chief and sets up a dedicated source-selection committee, indicates that senior civilians at the Defense Department have lost confidence in the Air Force's ability to manage the contract. The Government Accountability Office said last month that Boeing might have won the contract had the service not made mistakes in evaluating the bids.