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GAO Unlikely To Produce Tanker Truce

Washington, D.C. – Northrop Grumman and EADS beat out Boeing to win a $35 billion order from the Air Force three months ago. But the contract to build 179 aerial refueling tankers is not a done deal.

The surprise selection ignited criticism from unions, lawmakers and ``Buy American'' proponents in Congress. They have pinned their hopes on the Government Accountability Office, which will rule on Boeing's protest by June 19.

A ruling that finds problems with the selection would give ammunition to Boeing's supporters as they try to block funding for the contract or force a new tanker competition.

Northrop estimates the contract will support four new factories, including more than 1,500 new positions in Mobile where the tanker would be assembled.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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