Northrop Grumman's decision to drop out of the bidding for a $40 billion aerial refueling tanker contract leaves only Boeing in the running and gives the company a much-needed boost. With its profitable C-17 cargo jet nearing the end of production and Boeing's military business hit hard by weapons cuts, the company faced uncertainty, but the aerial tanker contract, along with the improving progress on the 787 Dreamliner, after lengthy delays, sets Boeing on a much improved track.

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