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US Politicians Call for Investigation of Airborne Tanker Contract

By VOA News
04 March 2008


The speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives has promised an investigation of a contract to build new airborne tanker planes won by a partnership that includes the European parent of Airbus.

Representative Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, said Monday the deal posed serious questions that Congress must examine thoroughly.

Last week, the U.S. Air Force awarded a $35-billion contract to build 179 new tanker planes to a partnership between the European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company and U.S. defense contractor Northrop Grumman.

Chicago-based Boeing was the losing bidder on the job. Lawmakers from Washington state and Kansas, where Boeing operates manufacturing facilities, have demanded an explanation from the Pentagon.

Boeing had been expected to win the contract. The surprise choice of EADS marks the European company's entry into the U.S. defense market.

The Air Force uses airborne tankers to refuel fighter jets, bombers, and other military aircraft in mid-air.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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