Northrop Grumman Corp. said Wednesday it will team up with the parent of European aircraft-maker Airbus to bid for a contract to build...

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LOS ANGELES – Northrop Grumman Corp. said Wednesday it will team up with the parent of European aircraft-maker Airbus to bid for a contract to build a new refueling plane for the U.S. military.


The joint venture pits Northrop and the North American unit of the European Aeronautic Defence & Space Co., against Chicago-based Boeing Co.


Boeing lost a $23.5 billion deal to make the tanker last year after information surfaced that it had hired a top Air Force acquisitions official who later admitted giving the company preferential treatment.


If awarded the contract to build the KC-30 tanker for the Air Force, Northrop said it would be the principal contractor and EADS would be the main subcontractor.


Northrop also builds warships, missile defense systems and unmanned surveillance aircraft.


More than 50 percent of the work to manufacture the aircraft would be done in the United States, creating more than 1,000 jobs, Northrop said.


EADS North America was expected to build an assembly plant in Mobile, Ala., where the aircraft, modeled after the Airbus A330 commercial jet, would be built.


“We’ve heard both Congress and the Air Force stress the need for a competition, and we are prepared to address that need by forming a strong industry team based on demonstrated capability, performance, management and affordability,” Scott Seymour, president of Northrop’s integrated systems sector, said in a statement.


EADS, which is based in France and Germany and owns 80 percent of Airbus, already has contracts to make military tankers for the United Kingdom and Australia.


Northrop shares rose 21 cents to $57.25 during midday trading on the New York Stock Exchange, while Boeing shares fell 91 cents, or 1.4 percent, to $64.12.