The Boeing Co. and Lockheed Martin have dropped their protest of the Pentagon’s choice of Northrop Grumman to develop and build the U.S. Air Force’s next-generation stealth bomber, known as the long-range strike bomber (LRS-B).
Boeing and Lockheed, which had offered a joint bid for the project, “remain firmly convinced of the validity of the issues raised in our protest,” Boeing said Friday in a statement.
However, the companies have “decided not to pursue further challenges to that award” through the Government Accountability Office (GAO) or in federal court, the company said.
After Air Force officials picked Northrop Grumman in October, the Boeing-Lockheed team appealed the decision with the GAO.
In 2008, Boeing protested the Air Force’s selection of Northrop Grumman and EADS — Airbus Group’s name at the time — to develop a new aerial refueling tanker. The GAO overturned the Pentagon’s decision, prompting another bidding round. Boeing won that round, and currently is testing its KC-46A Pegasus tanker, which is assembled at Everett.
This time, though, the GAO rejected the Boeing-Lockheed team’s protest of the LRS-B contract.
Even though Northrop Grumman keeps the work, both Boeing and Lockheed likely will be subcontractors on the program, delivering various components.