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Tue, Jul 01, 2008

AAI Sues Air Force Over KC-135 Maintenance Contract

Filed Three Protests Challenging Boeing Win

While the Air Force prepares its response to the Government Accountability Office in the dispute over the KC-X aerial tanker of the future, it suddenly finds itself the target of a lawsuit over another contract for maintenance of its existing, half-century-old tanker fleet.

Alabama Aircraft Industries, which filed the suit, says the Air Force improperly awarded Boeing a $1.1 billion maintenance contract. AAI President Ron Aramini called the process "significantly flawed."

Government regulators twice sided with AAI in its protest of the contract, but denied the company's third protest. Alabama Aircraft alleges the Air Force,"...failed to take appropriate corrective action in response to the GAO's December 27 and February 1 decisions" for the KC-135 tanker maintenance contract.

Meanwhile, the plot thickens in the KC-X battle. Boeing's supporters in Congress introduced legislation last week that would withhold defense funds unless the Air Force either awarded the contract to Boeing, or rebids it as the GAO suggested. The bill was blocked in the Senate on Friday by Senator Jeff Sessions, a Republican from Alabama, where Northrop and EADS would build their KC-30 tanker.

Fellow Alabama Republican Jo Bonner said that Boeing and its supporters were trying to force the Air Force into settling for the "second best" plane. "The company's sense of entitlement and arrogance are breathtaking."

FMI:  www.alabamaaircraft.com, www.gao.gov, www.af.mil

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