See You in Court?

Boeing might press its complaints about the Long-Range Strike Bomber contract in court, after its protest was denied by the Government Accountability Office. “We continue to believe that our offering represents the best solution” and that USAF erred in awarding the contract to Northrop Grumman, said Boeing in statement reacting to the GAO’s decision upholding the Air Force’s contract award. “We will carefully review the GAO’s decision and decide upon our next steps with regard to the protest in the coming days,” Boeing said in a press release. A GAO official said the decision is not necessarily the last word. “Although it doesn’t happen often,” Boeing could take its complaint to the US Court of Federal Claims, he said, where a fraction of GAO’s roughly 2,500 protests a year end up. He noted that this happened in 2012 with the A-29 Light Air Support aircraft for Afghanistan, which was awarded to Sierra Nevada and Embraer but protested by Beech Aircraft. Beech sued (and lost) after losing two protests. There is no financial penalty for Boeing if it sues—and fails—to reverse the LRS-B decision, but a GAO official said “there is the potential of alienating their government customer. … There is a potential price in goodwill” if Boeing presses on without a solid claim.