The Air Force, still in need of airborne refueling craft, plans to buy 179 of these so-called tankers starting in fiscal 2011. The $35 billion contract for turning out about 15 planes a year may be awarded by June 2010, according to Bloomberg News.
The Air Force has tried many times to make this deal but hasn't had much luck in recent years. As I wrote in You Can't Order Change, Boeing (BA) almost won in 2002. But when it came to light that the company had offered jobs to a key Air Force procurement officer and her daughter in exchange for the award, the contract was canceled. Last year, the bidding process got caught up in electoral politics and was delayed.
Now it looks like Boeing might win the bid after all -- with no competition.