Pentagon will Rebid $35 Billion Air Force Tanker Contract - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Pentagon will Rebid $35 Billion Air Force Tanker Contract

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KENNEWICK, Wash-- The Pentagon announced they will rebid a $35 billion Air Force tanker contract previously given to Airbus, which is Boeing's biggest competitor.

Boeing says after a 100 day review of the selection criteria the Government Accountablity Office (G.A.O.) said the Air Force's decision process was flawed and the Pentagon will now be in charge of the air tanker refueling contract

The G.A.O. says Boeing may have won the air tanker refueling contract if the Air Force had not made critical errors when evaluating the bids between the Boeing 767 and Airbus 380.

"The Air Force process is flawed they made seven or eight mistakes that the G.A.O. called out and now the Department of Defense needs to make sure that this isn't just another redo but an actual rebid in which the issues of cost and national security are taken into consideration," said U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell. 

This is the first of three Air Force contracts worth as much as $100 billion to replace 600 air refueling tankers. It's a contract Boeing believes belongs in the hands of an American company with 50 years of military plane experience.

"I believe the revived process will result in the best tanker for the Air Force at the best price for the American tax payer," said U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

Boeing says if they get the contract jobs will open nationwide between its facilities in the Seattle area, Kansas, and their supplier chains.

"We feel that it would create about 44,000 American jobs," said Dan Beck, Boeing Defense Spokesman.

Boeing did a life cycle study on the 767 tanker that determined the plane would save tax payers billions of dollars in fuel costs because it is lighter than the Airbus 380 tanker.

A Boeing Defense Spokesperson said Boeing's main concern is the new contract criteria the Pentagon will release later this month. The contract will awarded in early December.