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Boeing believes GBSD team with Northrop Grumman could beat Pentagon cost estimate

11 September 2019
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Boeing is proposing a teaming arrangement with Northrop Grumman to bid for the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD) next-generation intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) programme that could beat a Pentagon cost estimate of USD85 billion, a Boeing executive believes.

Frank McCall, Boeing's GBSD vice-president, told Jane's on 5 September that Boeing believes it can meet the US Air Force's (USAF's) goals for both acquisition cost and life- cycle cost by a significant margin. McCall added that if Boeing partners with Northrop Grumman to bid for the GBSD, the team can further reduce the system's cost by combining elements of the two companies' most cost-effective portions.

Boeing is proposing a teaming arrangement with Northrop Grumman to bid for the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD) programme. The company was the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) for the Minuteman III ICBM (pictured). (Boeing)Boeing is proposing a teaming arrangement with Northrop Grumman to bid for the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD) programme. The company was the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) for the Minuteman III ICBM (pictured). (Boeing)

"[This would give] the US Air Force an integrated system that is both more effective and cost-effective . than the solution that either of us could provide by ourselves," McCall said.

The Pentagon's Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation (CAPE) office determined in August 2016 that the GBSD could cost at least USD85 billion, while USAF estimated in February 2016 that the programme could cost approximately USD62 billion.

Boeing and Northrop Grumman are the two companies that the USAF has relied on for ICBM work since the beginning of the Minuteman III programme, which the GBSD will replace. McCall said Boeing was the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) for Minuteman III and did most of the hardware design.

Boeing announced on 25 July that it would not bid for the GBSD's engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) portion, citing the USAF's acquisition approach. This leaves Northrop Grumman as the only bidder for the GBSD. Northrop Grumman is already building its future headquarters for the project near Hill Air Force Base (AFB) in Utah, the company announced on 27 August.

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