NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The Pentagon has said it would extend a bid with a May 10 deadline for a tanker contract after Airbus parent EADS expressed interest in joining the bid.

Earlier this month, Northrop Grumman ( NOC) dropped out of the race to win a $40 billion contract to build the Air Force's next generation of aerial-refueling planes, leaving Boeing ( BA) as the sole competitor.

Northrop's partner in the proposal was Europe's EADS. Northrop and EADS won the last competition for the contract in February 2008. But the deal was canceled after government auditors decided to uphold a Boeing protest.

It was reported earlier this month that EADS was considering launching a bid of its own.

-- Reported by Andrea Tse in New York

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