The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) has dismissed Boeing’s formal protest over the US Air Force’s (USAF) next-generation long range strike bomber (LRS-B) contract award to Northrop Grumman.

A statement on the USAF website read: "The Air Force was confident that the source selection team followed a deliberate, disciplined and impartial process to determine the best value for the warfighter and the taxpayer."

USAF Secretary Deborah Lee James said: "We look forward to proceeding with the development and fielding of this critical weapon system.

"It is important to ensure affordability in this programme and the ability to leverage existing technology as we proceed forward."

"This platform will offer the joint community the required capability needed to meet our national security objectives and the evolving threat environment.

"It is important to ensure affordability in this programme and the ability to leverage existing technology as we proceed forward."

Last month, Northrop defeated Lockheed and Boeing to win the LRS-B contract, following which the companies lodged a formal protest with GAO to review the decision to award the contract.

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A total of 100 new bombers are expected to replace the USAF’s ageing B-52 Stratofortress and B-2 Spirit fleets.

According to the USAF, the independent estimate for the EMD phase is $21.4bn in 2010 dollars.

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 and also serve as the air component of the nuclear triad.

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.