GREAT FALLS – One of two companies vying for the contract surrounding the next generation of the intercontinental ballistic missile, or ICBM, has withdrawn from consideration.
On Thursday, Boeing announced the company had backed out of Ground Based Strategic Deterrent project, or GBSD, at Malmstrom Air Force Base.
This leaves Northrop Grumman Systems Corporation as the only contractor currently in the running to upgrade the decades-old missile system.
On July 16, the Air Force requested engineering and manufacturing development contracts from both companies.
But, a statement from Boeing states their decision came after numerous attempts to resolve issues that had arisen during the process.
A company spokesperson said Boeing did not feel the current selection process was fair after extensive evaluation.
The full statement from Jerry Drelling with BDS External Communications said:
“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.”
Boeing is proud to support the Airmen who keep the ICBM system safe, secure and reliable and remains committed to their mission.”
In reaction to the sudden news, Montana’s representatives reiterated their support for the GBSD project.
A spokesperson for Senator Steve Daines said Daines hopes for more information about the announcement.
A statement reads, “Steve remains committed to ensuring the weapon system is fielded on schedule. Steve is requesting more information to see if, or how, this will impact the timeline to field GBSD.”
Senator Jon Tester’s office also responded, stating Tester has reached out to the Air Force with questions about the decision.
A statement from a spokesperson said, “Senator Tester is a strong advocate for the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent program, and will continue working to ensure this critical national security project remains on schedule.”
The Air Force was set to announce the company who will move forward with the GBSD in 2020.
Reporting by Keeley Van Middendorp for MTN News