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Northrop Grumman declines to bid for US Air Force's NGAD programme

Northrop Grumman had earlier released this notional artist's conception of its NGAD bid but CEO Kathy Warden said on 27 July the company would not bid for NGAD. (Northrop Grumman)

Northrop Grumman will not submit a bid to build the US Air Force's (USAF's) Next Generation Air Dominance (NGAD) fighter aircraft, company CEO Kathy Warden told on a 27 July investors' call.

“We have notified the US Air Force that we're not planning to respond to the NGAD [request for proposals (RFP)] as a prime [contractor],” Warden said. “We are responding to other bidders' request for proposals as a supplier.”

“We are remaining disciplined in assessing the right programmes to pursue, and that's ones where we feel we're well positioned with a mature offering,” she added.

The NGAD programme is intended to replace the Lockheed Martin F-22 as the service's high-end fighter, scheduled to enter service in the 2030 timeframe. The USAF released an NGAD RFP on 18 May inviting manufacturers to bid to build the aircraft. The RFP is classified. No manufacturers have confirmed their intent to submit bids, but as one of the three major US aerospace prime contractors, Northrop Grumman was widely expected to submit one.

“We do feel that discipline has served us well in the past in selecting how much risk to take and what to pursue. And we've learnt lessons from some of our own experience as well. So we are applying those as we think about what to bid and what not to bid going forward,” Warden said. “Bid discipline and ensuring we have the right combination of risk and reward are important.”

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