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With US Aerospace protesting its exclusion from the KC-X tanker competition, and Sikorsky also asking lawyers at the Government Accountability Office to intervene on a sole source U.S. Navy contract for transport helos, the logical question is whether Boeing/Lockheed Martin will protest the U.S. Air Force decision to award Raytheon the 250-lb.-class Small-Diameter Bomb II development contract?The $450 million contract is potentially a huge deal. The tri-mode seeker will make the weapon more expensive than a regular SDB, but also more attractive to operators given the ability to attack moving targets in bad weather. For Boeing, in particular, the loss is a huge setback given its position as the builder of the Joint Direct Attack Munition and the increment one SDB.But beyond the protest, there are many other questions still hanging over SDB II. One is whether the program will actual be sustained, given budget pressures.What is more, it will be a real test-case for the Pentagon and its effort to shift back to fixed-price development programs.Raytheon, for its part, faces a non-trivial schedule. The weapon is to be operational on F-15Es already in 2015. That does not provide a lot of margin for error. The weapon also is to go on the F-35B and F-35C, for starters.
ar99, SDB, Raytheon, Boeing
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