By DONNA CASSATA, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The European plane-building company that lost out on a $35 billion refueling tanker deal isn’t appealing the Air Force’s decision to go with Chicago-based Boeing.

The European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co. said Friday it won’t ask the Pentagon to review the decision to have Boeing build nearly 200 giant airborne refueling tankers.

“It’s time to put the interest of the warfighter first and we’re stepping aside,” said Ralph Crosby Jr., chairman of EADS North America.

The Air Force last week picked Boeing to build a replacement for the Eisenhower-era tanker fleet. The contract would mean tens of thousands of U.S. jobs, with Washington state and Kansas getting the bulk of the work. The contract, which could be worth as much as $100 billion, is a major win for Boeing.

EADS planned to assemble the aircraft at a closed military base in Mobile, Ala.

The tankers allow jet fighters, supply planes and other aircraft to cover long distances. That’s critical today with fewer overseas bases and with operations under way far from the U.S.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)


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