A formal protest has been filed by Boeing and Lockheed Martin over the US Air Force’s (USAF) decision to award the Long Range Strike-Bomber (LRS-B) contract to Northrop Grumman.

Both the companies, which believe the selection process to be fundamentally flawed, have requested the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) to review the decision to award the LRS-B contract.

According to Boeing and Lockheed, the cost evaluation performed by the government did not properly reward the contractors’ proposals.

"That flawed evaluation led to the selection of Northrop Grumman over the industry-leading team of Boeing and Lockheed Martin."

A statement on the company’s website read: "That flawed evaluation led to the selection of Northrop Grumman over the industry-leading team of Boeing and Lockheed Martin, whose proposal offers the government and the warfighter the best possible LRS-B at a cost that uniquely defies the prohibitively expensive trends of the nation’s past defence acquisitions."

Meanwhile, Northrop Grumman vice-president of strategic communications Randy Belote, issued a statement saying that the company ‘is disappointed that its former LRS-B competitors have decided to disrupt a programme that is so vital to national security.’

Last month, the USAF awarded a contract to Northrop Grumman for the production of new LRS-B, in a bid to replace the air force’s aging fleet of bombers.

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The new long-range, highly survivable bomber will be capable of penetrating and operating in the future anti-access, area denial environment, with its capability to strike any target, any time around the globe.

The new system will have an open architecture that will allow integration of new technology and timely response to future threats across the full range of military operations.

Moreover, this open architecture will offer the opportunity to retain competition across the lifecycle of the programme.