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Thu, Apr 03, 2008

Denied, But Not Out: Northrop Says It 'Welcomes' Slimmer Boeing KC-X Protest

GAO Says No To Requests For Dismissal Of Boeing Allegations

When is a defeat not a defeat? Ask Northrop Grumman... which on Thursday acknowledged the Government Accountability Office denied its motion, and one filed by the US Air Force, asking for a partial dismissal of a protest filed last week by Boeing regarding the KC-X decision process.

However -- and this is a big "but" -- Northrop says that GAO denial comes after Boeing pared down its original protest to a few key elements, eliminating much of what both Northrop and the USAF cited in calling for that dismissal.

"Boeing's decision to abandon the public relations rhetoric contained in its original protest filings is in keeping with our motion," said Randy Belote, Northrop Grumman vice president of corporate and international communications. "We are encouraged that the company has streamlined its approach. We remain convinced that the Air Force process that led to Northrop Grumman's selection was fair, open and transparent, and we look forward to assisting the Air Force defend its selection decision before the GAO."

As ANN reported, the US Air Force and Northrop filed separate requests March 27 to dismiss parts of a protest by Boeing against the award to Northrop of the $35 billion KC-X aerial tanker contract. Politicians at every level of government in the US have vowed to fight the award to Northrop Grumman, saying Northrop's partnership with the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company sends what should be US manufacturing jobs overseas.

In addition to protesting the decision to award the KC-X contract to the Airbus A330-derived tanker offered by Northrop and EADS, Boeing also took the battle to the court of public opinion -- running full-page ads challenging the decision.

FMI: www.globaltanker.com, www.northropgrumman.com/kc45/

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