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."
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