Pentagon's New Bid Rules Favor Northrop: Boeing

Bidding changes seen to justify previous decision

By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 7, 2008 11:41 AM CDT

(Newser) – The Pentagon issued new criteria yesterday for the second round of bidding on its lucrative fuel-tanker contract, Bloomberg reports, and Boeing backers immediately cried foul. The new terms give bonus points to a plane that carries more fuel than the earlier guidelines, which Boeing officials and congressional allies claim favors its European-backed rival, Northrop Grumman.

Boeing’s proposed plane carries 20% less fuel but is significantly cheaper to produce than Northrop's. The bidding on the $35 billion contract was reopened after the GAO backed Boeing's claim that the contract unfairly went to Northrop. The new rules look like "an attempt to justify the original decision," said Rep. Norm Dicks of Washington, saying the revisions favor capacity "larger than any real-world scenarios."

A KC 135 tanker aircraft of the U.S. Air Force stands on the tarmac of Ferihegy Airport in Budapest, Hungary, Thursday, April 3, 2008.   (AP Photo/MTI, Tamas Kovacs)
In this artist's depiction provided by Northrop Grumman Corp., a KC-45A refuels a B-2 stealth bomber.   (AP Photo/Northrop Grumman Corp, FILE)
In this May 5, 2007 file photo, an F-16 from the California Air National Guard's 144th Fighter Wing aligns with the boom from a Boeing, KC-135 Stratotanker from the 314th Air Refueling Squadron from Beale...   (AP Photo/Ben Margot, file)
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