Company protests tanker bid process

As if the process of deciding what company will build replacements for the Air Force's aging aerial tankers isn't complicated enough, a new bidder in the contest has filed a protest with the Government Accountability Office.

That bidder, Los Angeles-based U.S. Aerospace, is collaborating with a Ukranian company to bid a plane built in that Eastern European country.

While most experts consider U.S. Aerospace’s bid a long shot against rivals Boeing and Airbus, the company wants the GAO to let it back into the contest after the Air Force tossed out its bid as being too late.

The company contends that its messenger showed up in ample time to submit the bid but was intentionally delayed by security personnel until after the 2 p.m. deadline July 9 had passed.

The process of selecting a replacement aircraft has dragged on for 10 years. At stake is a contract for 179 planes worth $35 billion to $40 billion. Boeing is proposing a militarized version of its 767 airliner built in Everett.