On Friday, Boeing Co issued a statement mentioning that Boeing and the United Launch Alliance, a joint venture with Lockheed Martin, have filed a joint complaint on June 14 against the U.S. Air Force, for $385 million, which the Air Force owes to ULA and Boeing for Delta IV rocket launch services. The statement said that the companies intended “to preserve their rights to recover these costs.”
The costs referred to are those incurred by Boeing in pursuit of a contract with the U.S. Air Force over the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle Program. However, Boeing refuses to be expendable. It says, the issues are “legitimate, allowable costs of the Delta IV program that Boeing incurred prior to the creation of ULA in 2006.”
The EELV program was launched by the Pentagon in the mid-1990s to cut the cost of placing government satellites in orbit. The program included the commercially owned and operated launch vehicles – Lockheed Martin’s Atlas V, and Boeings Delta IV. The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, mentions the Air Force had agreed to reimburse the costs at issue as part of efforts to ensure the continued participation of Boeing in the EELV program after the Air Force decided to restructure it.
Boeing accepted to stay on in the program only after its condition of being allowed to recover certain costs incurred from 1998 to 2006 was affirmed and accepted by the U.S. Air Force. The United Launch Alliance started operating in 2006 pooling the launch-system assets of both Boeing and Lockheed Martin.
The suit mentioned that ULA is the “successor-in-interest” to the relevant contracts and agreements made by and between Boeing and the U.S. Air Force. Jenna McMullin, a Boeing company spokeswoman said “We believe ULA is entitled to the full amount at issue and that the agreements with the Air Force are valid and enforceable.”