The U.S. Air Force is looking into how classified data about a competition for a next-generation U.S. bomber found its way into a report published by Forbes magazine, according to several sources familiar with the issue.
Boeing Co and Lockheed Martin Corp this month filed a formal protest against the Air Force’s contract with Northrop Grumman Corp to develop the new long-range strike bomber, a deal worth up to $80 billion.
Loren Thompson, chief operating officer of the Lexington Institute think tank, published a detailed column on the Forbes website the day the protest was filed, saying the estimate that it would cost $21.4 billion to develop the plane was roughly twice what the competing industry teams had bid.
The level of detail included in the column raised concerns given the classified nature of the bomber program, according to three of the sources.
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