Source AP ©

Air Force signs new contract with Boeing Co

Boeing Co. received new bids from the Air Force for a $15 billion (10.5 billion EUR) contract. The Air Force wants to replace 141 search-and-rescue helicopters used in combat.

The deal has been on hold while the Air Force reviewed protests filed by Lockheed Martin Corp. and Sikorsky Aircraft, a unit of United Technologies Corp., the losing bidders.

In two sets of protests filed the past year and backed by the Government Accountability Office watchdog agency, the companies questioned the clarity of the original requests for bids.

On Wednesday, the Air Force said it had asked all three companies to resubmit bids by mid-November.

The companies have just over a week to identify problems with the revised requests, which have changed enough, experts say, that the contract winner could be someone other than Boeing.

Air Force Secretary Michael W. Wynne told members of the House Armed Services committee at a hearing Wednesday that the deal should be awarded in mid-February.

The companies had expected a draft of the revised request last week, but the Air Force delayed its release and postponed a meeting with Boeing, Lockheed and Sikorsky because of competitive concerns raised by a potential bidder, said Joe LaMarca, a Boeing spokesman.

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