13 March 2008 | Paul Snell
Boeing will officially contest the decision of the US Air Force to award a contract to build air tankers to its rivals.
The decision to give the contract, initially worth $1.5 billion (£755 million), to Northrop Grumman and its European partner EADS has caused anger among US politicians, who want the deal scrutinised.
Boeing said it would file a formal protest with oversight body the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to review the contract award.
"Our team has taken a very close look at the tanker decision and found serious flaws in the process that we believe warrant appeal," said Jim McNerney, chief executive of Boeing. "This is an extraordinary step rarely taken by our company, and one we take very seriously."
The GAO is now required to respond to the protest by 19 June.
Despite anger in political circles, the procurement process has been supported by pressure group the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW).
"Politicians who insert themselves into that process are more concerned about scoring political points than they are about protecting the taxpayers," said Tom Schatz, CCAGW president.