Boeing just recently lost the battle for the LRB for approximately 60 Billion as it will hurt. Northrop won the bid as it will not result in closing its doors. The military tries to defend the industrial complex from extinction if the bids are a wash. Northrop was saved from extinction. Boeing lost, because it insisted on winning a 179 tanker order against Airbus. Lockheed won the F-35 and is endowed with Pentagon Billions. Boeing bid against Lockheed with its F-32 rendering. It lost from a STVOL consideration as Boeing wasn't quite yet ready for prime time on its presentation, but latter got it down solid.
The Boeing bid process has become victim with its own energy of bidding on everything big on the military, ignoring Government penchant for preserving the complex, as a necessary balancing act for the nation's defense. It needs manufacturing from multiple sources in order to achieve optimal results from competition. Boeing needs to court the military, and pick its battles rather than bid everything and insist on complaining when it loses. Boeing doesn't endear the military plans as they give one to Northrop as part of preserving its Military Industrial Complex health meter. Keeping Northrup around for the next decades is Job one. Don't worry Boeing you were tossed a Tanker bone away from the Airbus complex.
That is why Boeing needs to do a careful approach to the award process. The first objective is to identify what upcoming program will make Boeing Defense industry for three next decades. They should have approached its F-32 bid more seriously with its vast committed intelligence, engineering and capital R&D. Lockheed no longer builds commercial airplanes so it was a do or die effort for them. The military appreciated its attitude for do or die and gave Lockheed the F-35 bid. Boeing was doing well with its commercial realm and its offering was very close in the competition. However, Boeing could have done better during the award process and would have won it if wasn't so arrogant of an industrial base. They lacked humility and lost.
The F-32 should have been the Marine Bird period. The F-35 needed some beefing up but it gave it away when it had to accommodate three F-35 types from one design concept. Lockheed could have built a Navy deck launcher with an advanced Air Force Fighter frame. However, somebody had an outcome based education resume and insisted on everybody wins having one frame and Boeing you lose because you got the gold star last time. In a perfect world the DoD biffed it. They should have grabbed the Boeing design in a heartbeat for a dedicated STVOL fighter. However, the outcome based nerds with all the Gold stars awarded Lockheed the award because it was its turn. Then comes the LRB project and it's Northrop's turn.
If the Military was really interested having the best concept flying it would cherry pick the best concept from any manufacturer and not insist on playing like a bunch of first graders giving out bid award stars. The system really makes America weaker and it doesn't actually save $$Tax Dollars. The cost over runs are proof of that during JSF program. The old axiom is true: "good at all things, master of nothing". The Marines are a special group of people and they need an ugly jump jet on Steroids. The F-32 was that Jump Jet.
Wow, I digressed again, back to Boeing bidding strategy:
- Boeing needs to pick only one bid program for a long term continued production run.
- Boeing does not need to go after every program, but it need to bid every program.
- Boeing needs to prepare for "a feature bid program with R & D behind it" with a do or die mindset
- Boeing needs to woo the Military by not complaining or objecting during bid losses
- Boeing needs to complete a bid development beyond expectations and eliminate mishaps (KC-46)