Britain has begun exclusive talks with planemaker Boeing Co. for a multi-billion pound contract to replace its fleet of aging surveillance aircraft for the Royal Air Force, the Financial Times reported.
The decision to move ahead with one potential supplier, expected to be confirmed ahead of a Nato conference this week, will likely spark a backlash from parts of the defense establishment as it has been done without a competitive process, according to the report.
Boeing (BA) did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.
Reuters first reported in July that Britain's government was nearing a decision to buy four to six surveillance planes built by Boeing.
The contract to replace its six aging E-3D Sentry airborne early warning (AWACS) planes with a fleet of Boeing E-7 Wedgetail jets would, if confirmed, be worth over $1 billion, Reuters had reported, citing sources familiar with the plans.
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