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February 24, 2011 at 2:06 PM

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Boeing wins long-awaited tanker contract

Posted by Kyung M. Song

WASHINGTON -- The Air Force has chosen Boeing to build its new fleet of aerial refueling tankers, reversing its award three years ago to EADS in one of the most contentious procurement duels in recent history.

The Pentagon's decision, which was confirmed by a congressional source with direct knowledge, follows months of pessimism by Boeing officials that its 767 jetliner-based tanker fared poorly under the Pentagon's evaluation against EADS's larger aircraft, a modified version of the Airbus A330 passenger jet.

The fruits of the $35 billion, 179-aircraft order would be felt most keenly in Washington and Kansas. Boeing would assemble the tankers at its Everett widebody plant and transport them to Wichita for final equipping. In all, Boeing has estimated that the tanker contract would generate 50,000 direct and indirect jobs in the United States.

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