Boeing has filed a 133-page brief with the Government Accountability Office detailing the company’s grievances regarding the Air Force’s selection of Northrop Grumman for the Long-Range Strike Bomber contract. The Air Force filed its report with the GAO on Dec. 6, responding to Boeing’s initial complaint. Unsatisfied by USAF’s responses, Boeing’s Dec. 17 GAO brief represents the next step in the protest sequence. In a joint press statement, the Boeing and Lockheed Martin team said the Air Force’s “selection process was irreparably flawed” and said it was continuing the protest process. Boeing’s complaint is that the Air Force didn’t take full account of the potential cost savings and allegedly lower risk of its approach to the program. Under the statutory rules about protests, the GAO must render a ruling on the merits of Boeing’s protest by about Feb. 15. In its own press statement, Northrop Grumman said it had “filed comments with the GAO” in support of USAF’s award to that company, and noted that Boeing’s move is a “routine step” and “not in any way indicative of a meritorious protest.” Northrop Grumman “remains confident” that it offered “an inherently more affordable solution” for the LRS-B program and looks forward to “getting back to work” on it once the protest is resolved. (See also Confidence Game.)
Rumored cuts to the F-35 from the fiscal 2025 defense budget—six from Air Force plans—would not be offset by recent Foreign Military Sales, and will disrupt ongoing Lot 19 negotiations, Pentagon and industry sources said.