EVERETT, Wash. (AP) -- The chairman of the U.S. House defense appropriations subcommittee, Rep. John Murtha, says the Air Force needs to start replacing its KC-135 refueling tanker fleet as soon as possible. But Murtha isn't convinced that multi-billion-dollar deal should go exclusively to Boeing Co.
The Pennsylvania Democrat spoke Monday after touring Chicago-based Boeing's Everett, Wash., factory. He's made similar comments elsewhere.
Murtha says he favors splitting a potential $40 billion Air Force contract between Boeing and rival Northrop Grumman and its partner, EADS.
The Air Force selected Northrop Grumman/EADS for the aerial tanker project last year, but then it reopened the bidding after the Government Accounting Office found flaws with the decision.
Murtha says an alternative approach is needed to get the refueling tankers built.