Boeing may have a chance at winning a contract to produce up to 22 satellites for the Air Force. However, the company withdrew from the competition. The company said that they have a slimmer chance of winning the contract even if they put in a proposal.
In an interview at the 34th space symposium in Colorado, Springs, Rico Attanasio, the director of Defense for Boeing reveal that after analyzing the conditions the government requested for in the proposal, the company decided not to turn in any bid.
He said that the criteria for bidding included recurring production and their company does not have a good chance looking at that requirement. He also stated that it was not easy for the company to decide to back out of the competition but they had to.
Boeing was expected to compete with Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman. Earlier, Boeing had built GPS satellites, however, since the introduction of GPS 3 satellites, Lockheed Martin has been the only company to produce GPS 3 satellites. Lockheed Martin has even been contracted to build 10 GPS satellites.
The Air Force contracted Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and Northrop Grumman to pre-produce GPS satellites in 2016. The Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center also opened a request for proposal to these companies this year.
The chosen company is expected to build up to 22 GPS 3 satellites, and the contract is worth $10 billion. According to Boeing, their selling point was resilience, innovation, and a new payload, but the conditions of the request for proposal did not concentrate on that.
Lockheed, on the other hand, has revealed that they have submitted a proposal to build a newer version of GPS 3. This version is called GPS 3F, and this version is more advanced regarding power and resilience.
Northrop Grumman has not revealed if they have submitted a proposal or not. The spokesman for the company, Lon Rains failed to comment on the issue.
Lt. Gen. John F. Thompson, the head of Air Force Space and Missiles Systems Center expressed his anticipation of the project. Speaking to reporters in November last year, he revealed that the company conducted research and was confident that a lot of companies would bid for the project. He explained that the competition in the market is high.
Meanwhile, bidding is expected to end this week. No other company has confirmed to submitting a proposal aside Lockheed Martin.