Boeing Co. said it may protest any changes to the U.S. Air Force's $35 billion aerial tanker tender, which would further delay an order that's being rerun after it was awarded to Northrop Grumman Corp. using Airbus SAS planes.

Boeing doesn't "want to rule out anything'' in terms of how far it might take objections should there be unfavorable modifications to contest terms from the Air Force, the company's defense chief, Jim Albaugh, said at a briefing in London.

Boeing, sole supplier of the Air Force's aerial-refueling tankers for half a century, submitted a bid based on a version of its 767 jetliner. The Air Force on Feb. 29 instead picked Los Angeles-based Northrop's entry, which used a bigger, reconfigured A330 plane made by Airbus, a unit of European Aerospace, Defence & Space Co. and Boeing's larger competitor in commercial planes. The Department of Defense last week said it would reopen aspects of the bidding to make sure the Air Force decision was fair.

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