Frank McCall, Boeing’s director of strategic deterrence systems, has warned that his company is willing to lobby the US Air Force and Congress to secure a share in the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD) program.
The GBDS will replace the aging LGM-30 Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile fleet, which entered service in the 1970s with an initial 10-year service life. The Air Force intends to invest US$570m next year for a preliminary design of the Minuteman’s successor, a major component of the American nuclear triad.
Boeing withdrew from the competition last July, on the basis that its only remaining rival bidder Northrop Grumman enjoyed an unfair advantage since acquiring solid rocket motor manufacturer Orbital ATK.
“Boeing is tempted to force Northrop Grumman’s hand into collaboration in order to preserve its share in the US defence market,” Nicolas Jouan, Aerospace and Defence Analyst at GlobalData, said. “GlobalData’s latest US Defence Market report reveals that the company will rank first in research and development related expenditures, but will be third in platforms acquisition related expenditures with 16 per cent market share, far behind first place Lockheed Martin on 34 per cent.
“Boeing is a historic player of the US missile defence market, and is not ready to lose without a fight.
“Isolation is a danger for Boeing, also confronted to multiple setbacks in other segments of the market,” Jouan added. “The F-15EX is still to be sold to Congress as a credible fighter alternative and the KC-46 Pegasus suffers major technical issues, while the grounding of the B-737 MAX badly impacted the company’s commercial business.”
Northrop Grumman and Boeing are in the running for Australia's Air 6500, which will see the development and integration of a Joint Battle Management System (JBMS) that will interconnect the many disparate platforms, systems and sensors across the air, land, sea, space, electromagnetic and cyber domains into a collaborative environment that provides shared situational awareness of the battlespace.