The U.S. Air Force intends to choose between Boeing and Northrop Grumman for the engineering and manufacturing phase of the serviceâs ground based strategic deterrent program that will begin in 2020, Defense News reported Thursday.Â The successful bidder willÂ produce intercontinental ballistic missiles and related systems that are slated to be operational by the late 2020s.
Gen. Timothy Ray, commander of the Air Force Global Strike Command, said he expects to see a decrease in costs for the GBSD program once the service picks a contractor that offers the best price. In 2017, Boeing and Northrop each won contracts with a maximum value of $359 million to continue the development of their respective GBSD concepts.
The Defense Department’s Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation officeÂ previously estimated that costs for the GBSD effortÂ may range fromÂ $85 to 100 billion. The Pentagon plans to release an updatedÂ estimate in June.