Unless the Pentagon allows Boeing six months to prepare its entry for the renewed Air Force tanker contract, there's "a really high likelihood" the company will decide not to bid, Boeing defense chief James Albaugh told The Wall Street Journal.

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Unless the Pentagon allows Boeing six months to prepare its entry for the renewed Air Force tanker contract, there’s “a really high likelihood” the company will decide not to bid, Boeing defense chief James Albaugh told The Wall Street Journal.

The paper reported on its Web site Thursday evening that Boeing believes the latest Pentagon requirements for the aerial-refueling tanker call for a plane that can haul more fuel than the modified 767 originally pitched by Boeing. The Defense Department is considering giving Boeing and the rival Northrop Grumman-EADS joint venture a total of 60 days to submit new bids.

“I think the option we would have if we were not given the six months, there is a really high likelihood that we would no-bid the program,” Albaugh said.

Northrop-EADS won the $40 billion tanker job in February, but the Air Force decided to rebid the contract after Boeing’s protest was upheld in June by the Government Accountability Office.