Ex-US Official: Aerial Refueling Project Delayed

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Ousted Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne says
if bidding on a tanker contract is reopened, the new refueling
planes will not go into service in 2013 as planned.

Wynne told a small group of reporters today that officials will try to meet the deadline due to the deteriorating condition of the current fleet. He was ousted two weeks ago by Defense Secretary Robert Gates, and his today is his last day as secretary.

Wynne said he's disappointed by the GAO review that found errors in the Air Force decision to award the 35 billion-dollar contract to Northrop Grumman and the parent company of Airbus. Boeing was the loser in the bidding and protested to the GAO.

Kansas lawmakers and labor leaders have said that the Wichita area would lose 500 jobs and 3,800 would be lost statewide if Boeing doesn't get the contract.

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

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