The Washington Times - February 22, 2011, 04:31PM

Multiple sources are reporting that the Pentagon today has been calling congressional offices to say the Air Force will announce this Thursday afternoon, around 4:45 p.m. Eastern time, its decision in the decade-long battle about which company will get the mutlti-multi-billion contract to build a new fleet of air refueling tankers, replacing planes that have been in service for a full half a century. Boeing and EADS are the two companies that have fought a vitriolic war over the contract, with one award to Boeing withdrawn in a scandal that sent several people to jail and another award to EADS thrown out because the Government Accounting Office upheld several points of a procedural challenge by Boeing alleging that EADS had unfairly had the deck stacked in its favor.

Most observers say they have never seen such a politically charged, pitched battled over a single military contract, ever. Thursday’s announcement is sure to stir up another big wave of complaints from the losing side.