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The Pentagon could announce the winner of the $80 billion-plus Long-Range Strike Bomber (LRS-B) contest on Oct. 23, but likely by the end of next week, according to industry executives from Northrop Grumman and the Boeing-Lockheed Martin team.
“The tea leaves are saying it’s most likely next week,” a Northrop Grumman source said. At midmorning Oct. 22, there was still “a diminishing chance” of an announcement on Oct. 23, one Boeing executive told Aviation Week.
Traditionally, the Pentagon announces major awards after 5 p.m. on Fridays to cushion against sudden shifts in company market valuations.
In an earnings call this week, Lockheed chief financial officer Bruce Tanner said to expect lower margins on the bomber contract if the Boeing team is successful, saying LRS-B is a very strategic contract and Lockheed “bid accordingly”.
In terms of the government team, LaPlante says there are about 80 people within the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office (RCO) working on the bomber project.