Washington Defense contractor Boeing Co. said Thursday that it will bid for the Air Force’s troubled $35 billion refueling plane contract, leaving rival Northrop Grumman Corp. to decide whether it will make its own attempt to build the long-delayed jets.
Boeing said it plans to offer a military version of its 767 passenger jet for a fleet of 179 new planes. The contract is expected to be the first of several to replace many of the Air Force’s current planes that date back to the 1950s. Boeing said it will submit its formal bid by May 10.
Northrop has warned that it may not bid on the project, saying the Air Force’s guidelines appear to favor Boeing’s smaller plane.
If it wins the contract, Boeing is expected to build the Air Force planes at plants in Washington state and Kansas. Northrop would assemble its planes at a newly built factory near Mobile, Ala.