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Bloomberg: CRS Finds Northrop Bomber Bid ‘Substantially Below’ Air Force-DoD Cost Estimates

Air Force B-21Congress could review the U.S. Air Force‘s and the Defense Department‘s independent cost estimates for the Long Range Strike Bomber program after the legislative branch’s research arm found Northrop Grumman‘s (NYSE: NOC) winning bid to be “substantially below” those projections,  Bloomberg reported Thursday.

According to the story by Anthony Capaccio, Bloomberg obtained an 18-page assessment report done by the Congressional Research Service that says lawmakers could revisit those cost estimation methods to understand the difference between Northrop’s bid and the Air Force-DoD estimates.

Cappacio reports the Air Force also plans to develop a publicly-releasable version of the Government Accountability Office‘s decision to reject a challenge to the branch’s selection of Northrop for the LRSB program.

Northrop was chosen in October over a Boeing (NYSE: BA)-Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) team for the potential $80 billion contract to build the next-generation military bomber aircraft and the consortium subsequently filed a protest with GAO to challenge the award.

GAO upheld the Air Force’s decision in February and the Boeing-Lockheed duo then decided not to bring their challenge to Federal Claims Court, an option for contractors to continue challenges of contract awards in the event GAO upholds an agency’s decision.

As of 11:18 a.m. Eastern time: shares in Boeing and Northrop were up 28 and 15 cents, while Lockheed’s stock was down 46 cents.

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