GAO shoots down challenge to bomber deal

Image: Shrouded airplane
A shrouded airplane takes center stage in a Northrop Grumman TV commercial. The company’s Long Range Strike Bomber is similarly shrouded in mystery. (Credit: Northrop Grumman)

The Government Accountability Office ruled that Northrop Grumman won the U.S. Air Force’s contract for the Long Range Strike Bomber fair and square, and turned back a protest of the decision by the Boeing Co. and Lockheed Martin.

The next-generation stealth bomber is meant to replace the Air Force’s decades-old B-1 and B-52 bombers starting in the 2020s. The contract could bring as much as $80 billion to Northrop and its subcontractors.

Boeing and Lockheed Martin lost out in the competition, and in November the two companies filed a protest saying that the Defense Department’s selection process didn’t properly weigh all the risks and comparative advantages. After reviewing the record, the GAO denied the protest on Feb. 16, clearing the way for Northrop to resume work on the project.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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