The contract could run to $100 billion and is a body blow to Boeing in its duel to the death with Airbus. Two-thirds of all air-to-air refueling tankers are used by the United States. The contract gives a 30-year lease on life to the expiring Airbus A330 and means early death for Boeing's 767, the U.S. model for the tanker.
Oh yeah, because monopolies protected from foreign competition ripping off the government by bribing their employees makes for much better economics and government.
For a good article on why Boeing really lost the deal see the National Review.
The sordid story of the Boeing lease deal took what may be its final turn on February 29, when the Air Force announced that it will buy 179 tankers — nearly twice as many — from Boeing’s rival, Airbus. The deal is valued at $35 billion (for perspective, $26 billion in 2001 was worth $31 billion in today’s dollars). McCain is proudly touting a government estimate of $6.2 billion in savings for the taxpayers that ultimately resulted from his aggressive investigation. Democrats are attacking him for blocking Boeing, one of the nation’s top corporations in both congressional lobbying and campaign contributions.