Northrop Grumman has filed a $750 million lawsuit against the US Department of Defense, seeking to recover losses it incurred on the AGM-137 Tri-Service Standoff Attack Missile (TSSAM) programme which the US Air Force cancelled in 1995.

The company says that the US Government violated its own procurement rules. Northrop Grumman seeks to recover uncompensated performance costs, investments and "a reasonable profit".

After spending $3 billion over nine years developing the stealthy, stand-off cruise missile, the US Administration cancelled the project. The Pentagon had planned to buy 4,000 TSSAMs. Including research and development, the total cost of the programme had soared to $13.3 billion.

Lockheed Martin and McDonnell Douglas are competing to provide the TSSAM replacement, the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile, a weapons programme which could be worth $3 billion.

Northrop Grumman contends that the Pentagon failed to undertake a programme risk-assessment and report to the US Congress on the project's status as required by federal regulations, voiding the fixed-price contract.

Source: Flight International