October 6, 2010
US congressional auditors found that US Aerospace missed a deadline to vie for a potential USD$50 billion aerial tanker contract against Boeing and EADS.

Rejecting a formal protest, the Government Accountability Office sided with the US Air Force, concluding that the bidding papers were received after a 2 pm, July 9 submission deadline at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.

US Aerospace, partnered with Ukraine's Antonov plane maker, has said it submitted a USD$29.6 billion proposal for the 179-tanker deal. The Air Force said it was delivered five minutes too late.

The ruling lifts the latest question mark over the troubled fleet-replacement process, which began in earnest after the September 11, 2001, hijacked airliner attacks on New York and Washington.

The Air Force plans to pick between the Boeing and EADS offers no later than December 20.