Defense
2:23 pm
Fri March 4, 2011

EADS won't challenge Boeing tanker contract

Boeing's chief rival for the lucrative Air Force tanker refueling contract ended a decade-long fight for over the work today, announcing it will not challenge the Defense Department's award for the project. 

The Herald of Everett's Michelle Dunlop reports EADS, the European parent company of Airbus, decided a challenge could not be mounted:

"It's time to put the best interest of the warfighter first," said Ralph Crosby, EADS' chief executive. The European defense contractor had until next week to launch a protest with government auditors if it thought the Air Force had acted unfairly. But it decided early not to do so.

Boeing won the $30 billion-plus program with a ringing endorsement from Defense officials. It will be based on its 767 line, and will create or maintain thousands of jobs throughout the company's worksites. 

The Associated Press reports EADS top brass believe they have strong opportunities for future Defense contracts, and weren't interested in waging an unwinnable fight:

(EADS') Crosby did little to dispel the notion that Boeing came in with a low bid to prevent its foreign competitor from gaining a foothold in U.S. Boeing's bid, Crosby said, was "an extremely low-ball offer in order to achieve their strategic objective."

Boeing will build 200 tankers to replace 1950's-era planes.