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USAF Cancels ‘Bunker-Buster’ Contract Due to Foreign-Owned Recipient

The US Air Force (USAF) has cancelled one of two contracts recently awarded to manufacture BLU-137/B penetrator warheads because the recipient is foreign-owned and so unqualified according to the Jane’s.

Foreign Ownership, Control, or Influence (FOCI) protocol bars US from completing the award. The USAF has therefore withdrawn a USD419.6 million deal for 300 BLU-137/B ‘bunker buster’ bodies awarded to Finkl & Sons Company on 27 June.

The Jane’s stated that the USAF informed the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) that it was upholding a protest into the award to Finkl filed on 16 July by losing competitor Ellwood National Forge Company. While the protest highlighted a number of perceived errors in the contract award, it was specifically the point of the recipient being under FOCI that the service upheld.

“The Air Force … has determined that Finkl is a US company that is under FOCI. Therefore, Finkl is non-responsible and ineligible for award. For this reason, on 30 August 2018, the Air Force sent a notice of termination to Finkl,” the USAF said in its letter to the GAO. 

As with the incumbent BLU-109, the BLU-137/B is to be used to defeat hardened targets, such as secure command-and-control bunkers and other protected facilities.

The cancelled contract aimed production of 300 bodies each in the first year, and up to 3,500 bodies each in the subsequent four years. Work under contract was expected to be completed by May 3, 2020.

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