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By Nick Wakeman

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Nick Wakeman

Boeing, Lockheed protest $60B bomber contract

With tens of billions of dollars at stake, it is no surprise that Boeing and Lockheed Martin have filed a protest with the Government Accountability Office complaining that the Air Force made the wrong choice when it picked Northrop Grumman to build the Long Range Strike bomber.

In a joint statement, the companies said the decision was “fundamentally flawed. The cost evaluation performed by the government did not properly reward the contractors’ proposals to break the upward-spiraling historical cost curves of defense acquisitions, or properly evaluate the relative or comparative risk of the competitors’ ability to perform.”

The companies said that their proposal offered the government the best bomber at a “cost that uniquely defies the prohibitively expensive trends of the nation’s past defense acquisitions.”

The initial contract awarded to Northrop has a value of over $22 billion, but with options and other needs going forward, estimates of its value have ranged from $60 billion to $80 billion.

Lockheed and Boeing -- competitors for the F-35 fighter, which Lockheed won – formed a team seen by many as the favorite to build the new bomber.

For its part, Northrop expressed disappointment that its competitors decided to protest, calling it disruptive to a “program that is so vital to national security.” While the protest is pending before GAO, Northrop cannot begin work.

“The U.S. Air Force conducted an exceptionally thorough and disciplined process with multiple layers of review. Their process took into full account the parties’ respective offerings and their relative capabilities to execute their offerings on schedule and on budget,” the company said in a statement.

The company said its solution was “inherently more affordable and based on demonstrated performance and capabilities.”

Northrop also touted that it is the only company to design and build a stealth bomber.

The protest was filed with GAO on Nov. 6. A decision will likely be made by mid February.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Nov 06, 2015 at 10:49 AM


Reader Comments

Fri, Nov 6, 2015

Boeing and Lockheed think their track records in budget-busting over-runs, massive schedule slips, and delivery of aircraft with massive shortfalls of the contractual spec will help their case. It is unclear why

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