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Northrop pulls out of air tanker battle

Northrop Grumman, which lobbied North Carolina lawmakers to support its bid for a $35 billion Air Force tanker contract, announced today that it won't compete for the business.

The company decided it didn't think it could win the contract to build refueling tankers because the Pentagon's guidelines for the program “clearly favors Boeing's smaller refueling tanker,” Northrop CEO Wes Bush said in a statement.

Northrop officials launched a lobbying blitz in this state last month, meeting with lawmakers and running ads that claimed the company and its suppliers would create hundreds of jobs if it won the contract.

Its decision to back out makes rival Boeing the likely winner for the contract, which is scheduled to be awarded in September.

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