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Boeing wins US Air Force contract

02-26-2011 09:57 BJT

Boeing has won a contract to build new refueling planes, for the US Air Force. That's according to the Pentagon. Boeing hopes, that winning this contract, will give it an edge, in the long-term competition with rival, Airbus.

It's been a bitter battle.

Passenger jet rivals Airbus and Boeing, fighting to win a lucrative contract to supply the U.S. Air Force with 179 new refuelling planes to replace the current fleet which is half a century old.

Finally, after ten years, a decision.

Michael Donley, Secretary of US Air Force, said, "Today, based on all evaluated criteria, price and the results of a well-documented process we announce that the Air Force has selected the KC-X proposal provided by the Boeing company."

The 767 passenger jet will form the base of Boeing's tanker.

Airbus parent company EADS had pitched its A330 to fulfil the role.

Although the planes look similar, the U.S. government said Boeing offered a far better deal at a time when defense budgets are being squeezed.

William Lynn, US Deputy Defense Secretary, said, "I think what we can tell you is that Boeing was a clear winner."

But the $30 billion contract hasn't always been so clear cut.

In 2004 a former Boeing executive and a former Air Force official were jailed over its handling.

Four years later EADS was awarded the deal, only to have it cancelled after Boeing protested.

Boeing's plane will be constructed in Washington, where workers understandably welcomed the decision.

A Boeing employee said, "This would be the one thing that would tip us over. It would be outsourcing the wrong product, I think, and we can't outsource our military."

It's a big boost for Boeing, which is struggling to get its 787 Dreamliner commercial jet programme back on track.

EADS says it's disappointed, but says it would only protest the decision if it saw mistakes in the Boeing contract.

Editor:Zhang Jingya |Source: CNTV.CN

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