They think it’s all over, well perhaps not…

28 February 2011
As we reported on Saturday, after three years of wrangling the US Air Force (USAF) has finally chosen a supplier for its new fleet of refuelling planes, which brings this sorry procurement saga to a close. Or does it? EADS North America, who lost out on the deal to rival Boeing, still has the opportunity to challenge the decision. The firm hasn’t yet decided whether it will or not, saying it will “conduct a thorough analysis” and the review will “take some time”. The firm doesn’t have too long to decide though – up to 10 days following the upcoming debriefing on the reasons they lost by USAF officials. This tender process, just like the tarnished first, has been dogged by controversy. One bidder pulled out, claiming the revised specification favoured Boeing. And at the end of January a group of senators demanded a review into the process after data about Boeing’s bid was mistakenly sent to, and seen by, EADS. Making the announcement, deputy defense secretary William Lynn said the tender was “fair, open and transparent”, that it “favoured no-one” and that Boeing was a “clear winner”. With EADS claiming that 48,000 US jobs at its factory in Alabama and in its supply chain depend on the contract, and Boeing suggesting a similar number around its Washington HQ – and with the economic and political interests that accompany them - perhaps it won’t turn out to be as clear as he hoped.
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