European aerospace giant EADS has called for a 90-day extension to the tendering process for a multibillion-dollar deal to supply the U.S. air force with tanker jets, a Pentagon official said Friday.
"They've indicated to the department that they would like to see us extend the time frame 90 days," spokesman Bryan Whitman said. The tendering process is due to close around mid-May.
"We would consider reasonable extensions," Whitman said, adding that the "next step is for them to give us some specifics in terms of what they need the additional time for."
He confirmed that EADS could put in a bid to be the sole contractor without a U.S. partner "as long as they meet the requirements."
EADS said earlier it may submit a new offer to try to clinch the deal if revised Pentagon tender rules gave it a fair chance of success.
Last week EADS angrily pulled out of the race for the $35-billion contract to supply 179 tanker planes, alleging the Pentagon had skewed its requirements to favor its U.S. rival Boeing.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2010