Expressing concerns that how the Pentagon has maintained a massive Pentagon program to replace America’s ground-based nuclear missiles, Boeing said it will drop out.
Todd Blecher, a spokesman with Boeing’s defense, space and security division was quoted saying, “After numerous attempts to resolve concerns within the procurement process, Boeing has informed the Air Force that it will not bid Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD) Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) under the current acquisition approach.”
“We’ve evaluated these issues extensively, and determined that the current acquisition approach does not provide a level playing field for fair competition,” he added.
The Ground Based Strategic Deterrent program (GBSD) composes the ground-based leg of the United States’ nuclear strike capability. It aims to replace the Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles, which have been in use since the 1960s.
GBSD is part of a plan of Pentagon to replace the hardware which will theoretically launch them in the event of a nuclear war. The plan also includes General Dynamics’ Columbia-class nuclear submarine and new cruise missiles.
The decision of Boeing to terminate the ballistic missile program has notably complicated the easy plan of Pentagon to negotiate the contract. In 2017 the Air Force restricted the competition to Boeing and Northrop Grumman, rejecting a bid by Lockheed Martin.
In a July 23 letter, Boeing defense CEO Leanne Caret said: “We believe there are other procurement structures that could provide this capability more rapidly at less cost, and we will look for ways to leverage the work that we are performing [under earlier contracts] to help support this critical national security mission.”
A defense consultant working with Boeing, Lore Thompson said Northrop Grumman is now “headed for a monopoly” on the air, land and sea-based legs of U.S. nuclear strike capability. “One company would have a monopoly on the nuclear deterrent,” Thompson said. “I just don’t see Congress being comfortable with that,” he added.