Congress upholds Boeing complaint
Watchdog says US Air Force made "significant" errors in contract decision.
Last Modified: 19 Jun 2008 01:16 GMT
The decision to award the contract to Northrop
Grumman and EADS sparked US anger [AFP]

US congressional investigators have upheld Boeing's complaint against the awarding of a $35 billion contract to rival Northrop Grumman and its European partner.
The Government Accountability Office said it had found "significant errors" in the decision to award the contract and recommended the US Air Force review the decision.
Although the decision is not binding, analysts say it puts pressure on the air force to reopen the contract and possibly help the American aviation company win part or all of the award.
The air force said it was aware of the report and would review it.
The contract for 179 aerial refuelling tankers is the first of three deals
worth up to $100bn to replace the air force's entire tanker fleet over
the next 30 years.
Political controversy
Boeing lost the contract to Northrop Grumman and its European
partner, the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS),
parent of Boeing's competitor Airbus, in February this year.
But the US Air Force's decision to award the contract to a European aircraft maker, at a time of economic upheaval and job losses in the US, caused anger within the US government.
The GAO said in its report that the air force did not respect the evaluation criteria and conducted "misleading" discussions with Boeing about its compliance with requirements.
It also said the air force made "unreasonable" cost calculations
that, when corrected, fixed Boeing as the lower bidder for the duration of the contract.
Computation mistakes
Northrop Grumman and Boeing said last week the air force had made errors in awarding the contract, but Northrop said the minor "computation" mistakes should have "no impact" on the GAO's
Geoff Morrell, a Pentagon spokesman, said on Tuesday that the replacement of the fleet was a "number one" priority and it stood by its decision to award the contract to Northrop Grumman and EADS.

"[The process] was fair, transparent [and] provided our war fighters with the most capable aircraft and the taxpayers the most cost-effective solution," he said.
Topics in this article
Featured on Al Jazeera
Swathes of the British electorate continue to show discontent with all things European, including immigration.
Astronomers have captured images of primordial galaxies that helped light up the cosmos after the Big Bang.
Critics assail British photographer's portrayal of indigenous people, but he says he's highlighting their plight.
As Western stars re-release 1980s charity hit, many Africans say it's a demeaning relic that can do more harm than good.
Remnants of deadly demonstrations to be displayed in a new museum, a year after protests pushed president out of power.
No one convicted after 58 people gunned down in cold blood in 2009 in the country's worst political mass killing.
While hosting the World Internet Conference, China tries Tiananmen activist for leaking 'state secrets' to US website.
Once staunchly anti-immigrant, some observers say the conservative US state could lead the way in documenting migrants.
NGOs say women without formal documentation are being imprisoned after giving birth in Malaysia.