Pentagon drops tanker deal

Posted on 15 Sep 2008 by The Manufacturer

The Pentagon has withdrawn the controversial US Air Force (USAF) tanker deal, originally awarded to EADS and Northrop Grumman, following political pressure.

US aerospace firm Boeing is believed to have spent millions of dollars campaigning against its loss of the contract to its European rival. Defence analysts believe the Pentagon has now caved in to the lobbying by cancelling the contract until after the presidential election.

“Just how many chances does Boeing get to win this contract?” asked a defence industry insider. “They lost it fair and square but now they get to offer a new plane to see if they can win with that. This competition has become very dirty.”

British Defence officials have condemned the decision, issuing a warning to the Pentagon that retaliation may follow if it continues to block European companies from US projects.

“Is it fair for American companies to compete openly for defence contracts in this country when they are so protectionist in their own?” asked Bernie Hamilton, national officer for the Amicus union.