The battle between Boeing and Airbus soared to new levels of rancor this week at the Paris Air Show, where the companies are competing to supply the US Air Force with fuel tankers in a contract worth up to $40 billion. The open crossfire was unusual, the Wall Street Journal notes, for a defense industry in which rivals on one project are often partners on the next.
Boeing attacked its competitor’s plane as an oversized gas-guzzler, while championing its own half-century of tanker experience. Underdog Airbus hired an outside company to tout Boeing’s weaker points, including delays on Boeing tankers sold to foreign customers. The Air Force, which has not indicated a clear favorite, will make its decision this fall.