GAO upholds Northrop Grumman’s bomber win

WASHINGTON — The Government Accountability Office has denied a protest filed by the Boeing Co. and Lockheed Martin over Northrop Grumman securing the Air Force’s next-generation bomber contract.

Northrop Grumman, of Falls Church, Virginia, won the Long-Range Strike Bomber contract in October, beating out the Boeing-Lockheed team.

A month later, Boeing formally protested the Air Force’s decision. Tuesday’s GAO decision doesn’t guarantee Northrop will keep the contract, worth as much as $80 billion.

The Boeing-Lockheed team could still file a lawsuit over the decision.

“We continue to believe that our offering represents the best solution for the Air Force and the nation, and that the government’s selection process was fundamentally and irreparably flawed,” Boeing said in a statement.

“Given the significance of the LRS-B program, it could not be more critical that the government procure the most capable bomber to serve the warfighter, at the greater value to the American taxpayer.”

Boeing had argued the Air Force’s evaluation was fundamentally flawed with respect to cost assessments and technical evaluation.

In denying Boeing’s protests, “GAO concluded that the technical evaluation, and the evaluation of costs, was reasonable, consistent with terms of the solicitation, and in accordance with procurement laws and regulations,” the office said in a statement.

The details of Boeing’s protest and GAO’s decision in resolving them are classified, and have not been made public, nor have many details about the bomber itself, being developed to replace the Air Force’s fleet of B-1 and B-52 bombers.

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Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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