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Reports: Northrop Ends Navy Stingray Tanker Drone Contract Pursuit

Northrop Grumman (NYSE: NOC) has decided to drop the company’s pursuit of the U.S. Navy’s carrier-based unmanned aerial refueling tanker program, Defense News reported Wednesday.

The contractor’s decision came two weeks after the service issued the final request for proposals for the MQ-25A Stingray program.

“Winning is great… but if you can’t really execute on it and deliver on it to your customer and your shareholders, then you’ve done the wrong thing,” Northrop CEO Wes Bush said at an earnings call Wednesday.

“When you’re entrusted by the U.S. or any one of our allied nations to do something in the defense arena, that’s a bond of trust that you can’t afford to break, and we really look hard at executability under the terms of RFPs that come out to make sure that we can execute,” he added.

Bush added that the final RFP’s “particular nature” drove the company’s decision to drop out of the competition but declined to elaborate.

USNI News also reported that Northrop’s withdrawal from the competition leaves three companies that plan to bid for the MQ-25A Stingray contract: Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT), Boeing (NYSE: BA) and General Atomics.

The Navy expects to award the MQ-25A design and development contract by the end of fiscal year 2018.

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson wants the unmanned tanker capability to be available on carriers’ flight decks as early as 2019.

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