Boeing Co. and Lockheed Martin Corp. announced Friday that they will not pursue further actions challenging the Pentagon to overturn an $80 billion contract awarded to rival Northrop Grumman Corp. Lockheed and Boeing, who launched a joint bid to win the Long Range Strike Bomber contract, had argued that Northrop's winning aircraft will join a long list of "prohibitively expensive trends" of America’s past defense acquisitions.
"[The] Lockheed Martin team has decided not to pursue further challenges to that award, either through the [Government Accountability Office] or in federal court," the world's largest defense contractor said in a statement, according to Sputnik News.
The move comes after the GAO upheld Pentagon’s contract to Northrop last Tuesday despite opposition from Lockheed and Boeing. The GAO’s verdict concluded months of speculation about whether the contract would be awarded to a joint bid from the two aerospace giants, who contended that the bidding process was flawed, insisting their proposal offered the best mix of experience, capability and resources.
“While we remain firmly convinced of the validity of the issues raised in our protest to the [GAO] of the Long Range Strike Bomber contract award to Northrop Grumman, the Boeing-Lockheed Martin team has decided not to pursue further challenges to that award, either through the GAO or in federal court. This decision was taken, as always, with the best interests of our customer and the warfighter in mind,” Boeing said Friday, in a statement.
The Pentagon gave Northrop the stealth bomber contract after meeting the U.S. Air Force's criteria. However, the company also managed to come in $39 million under budget per unit of the aircraft, which reportedly costs $550 million each. The Air Force is likely to order between 80 and 100 of the new planes.