In last year's budget request, the Air Force included about $12.6 billion in its research, development, technology and evaluation account for the next-generation bomber from FY17 through FY20, according to official budget documents. But for the same time period, the service's FY17 funding profile for LRS-B is about $9.1 billion – a significant drop of about $3.5 billion.
The Air Force was able to develop a more accurate cost estimate for the program over the next four years once the winning contractor was selected, Gleason said. The program content for LRS-B has not changed over the last year, she stressed.
"All that's happened is we've had a new service cost estimate because we had a competition, we've downselected, we have a winner — we know that winner's business strategy, their technology strategy," Gleason said. "So that's purely an update to a cost estimate that caused that delta — the program content is the same."
The GAO is expected to announce its final decision on the protest next week.