Northrop Ditches, Leaves Boeing With Air Force Tanker Bitterly fought $40B contract left suddenly uncontested By Kevin Spak, Newser Staff Posted Mar 9, 2010 7:43 AM CST 8 comments Comments In this 2008 file photo of an artist's depiction provided by Northrop Grumman Corp., a KC-45A refuels a B-2 stealth bomber. (AP Photo/Northrop Grumman Corp, FILE) (Newser) – Boeing seems to have won its drawn out battle to build the Air Force’s new fleet of refueling planes by default; competitor Northrop Grumman withdrew its bid for the $40 billion contract. Northrop’s CEO said the company wouldn’t protest if Boeing got the contract without any real competition. “America's service men and women have been forced to wait too long for new tankers,” he said. Creating further delays would “not be acting responsibly.” The Air Force has been stuck with its Eisenhower-era tanker fleet thanks to the almost decade-long tug-of-war between Northrop and Boeing, the Wall Street Journal explains. Boeing won the contract in 2002, but lost it amidst scandal a year later. Northrop was then awarded it in 2008, but that sparked protests that the military was enriching a foreign company over an American one.