LRS-B Leaks

The Air Force is unhappy about information published about the Long-Range Strike Bomber program when Boeing protested the contract award to Northrop Grumman last month. “We did have a concern about end data that should not have been released,” Welsh said at an Atlantic Council event in Washington, D.C., Dec. 1. “It was made known to the press in some way, shape or form and I think it’s our duty to try and keep the process as pure as we can. And so that’s why the Air Force highlighted that as an issue.” Welsh was referring to a Forbes magazine article claiming that both LRS-B competitors bid about half of what USAF thought the LRS-B would actually cost. William LaPlante, former USAF acquisition chief, labored to tell the press in recent weeks that USAF was required by law to factor-in historical bomber costs when making LRS-B estimates. Welsh emphasized that he had no part in the bomber source selection and is unaware of a formal investigation into the issue of the leaks, but said he’s “intentionally staying as far away … as I can” from the source selection and protest “until it’s done.” An Air Force spokesman could not immediately say if a formal investigation is underway or who might be conducting it, but pointed out that Welsh did not say that classified information had been revealed.