Boeing and Lockheed Martin will have “discussions with our customer” before deciding to protest the award of the Long-Range Strike Bomber contract, which was awarded to Northrop Grumman on Tuesday. The companies said in a release issued shortly after the award was announced that they want to know more about how the competition was scored in terms of price and risk, and that the two companies have the “experience, capability, and resources” for the important program. Boeing and Lockheed have 10 business days from the contract announcement, or five days from the debriefing, whichever is later, to file a bid protest. The Government Accountability Office then has 100 calendar days to review the protest and make a decision. Lt. Gen. Arnold Bunch, the military deputy in the office of the assistant secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, said Air Force officials will make themselves available as early as Friday to debrief the Boeing, Lockheed team on why their offer was not selected. The Air Force “will monitor” any possible moves to protest the bid, Bunch said.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.