Boeing will not participate in Belgium's effort to replace its F-16 fleet.
The company initially responded to the Belgian request for proposal with its F/A-18 Super Hornet, a multirole fighter that Boeing felt was the most cost-effective option. However, it withdrew from last week’s bidder’s conference due to what it feels is an unlevel playing field for the Hornet.
Remaining competitors include Lockheed’s F-35, Saab with the Gripen, Eurofighter with the Typhoon, and Dassault with the Rafale.
Boeing received a $41 million contract modification in early April to update Super Hornets and EA-18 Growlers operated by Australia, Finland, Kuwait, Malaysia, Switzerland, Canada and Spain.
The F/A-18 Super Hornet is a twin-engine jet built for taking off from aircraft carriers. Updates for the aircraft include conformal fuel tanks, an enclosed weapons pod, a reduced radar signature and an enhanced engine.
Comments about the lack of a level playing field referred to Boeing’s feelings that the RFP was slanted in favor of Lockheed’s next generation F-35 fighter jet. Boeing also felt that the RFP neglected to account for costs associated with upgrades.