Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company, filed a formal protest Wednesday asking the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) to review the U.S. Army’s decision on the Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) contract.
Boeing said it supports the protest filed by our Team DEFIANT partner, asking the GAO to review the Army’s decision.
“Based on a thorough review of the information and feedback provided by the Army, Lockheed Martin Sikorsky, on behalf of Team DEFIANT, is challenging the FLRAA decision. The data and discussions lead us to believe the proposals were not consistently evaluated to deliver the best value in the interest of the Army, our Soldiers and American taxpayers,” Lockheed Martin and Boeing said in a statement.
“The critical importance of the FLRAA mission to the Army and our nation requires the most capable, affordable and lowest-risk solution. We remain confident DEFIANT X is the transformational aircraft the Army requires to accomplish its complex missions today and well into the future,” the statement added.
The Future Long Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) program is one of the Pentagon’s priorities, aiming to replace hundreds or even thousands of UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters made by Lockheed’s Sikorsky arm, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported.
GAO has the power to recommend reopening competitions or amending existing contracts if it finds in favor of protests, which can take several months. The office has 100 days to make a final decision.
Winning bidders often have to stop work on programs until the GAO makes a decision. In 2018, the GAO rejected a protest from Boeing afar its proposal for a new bomber built in partnership with Lockheed Martin lost to a rival design from Northrop Grumman Corp.
The new plane, the B-21, was rolled out earlier this month.
Most company protests of federal contract awards involve concerns about the government’s fairness in setting requirements or implementing evaluation criteria.
The Army sought a new helicopter that was faster and had more range than the Black Hawk. It hasn’t said the number of the new choppers it will seek to buy, which hinges on the Pentagon budget and production rates. A one-for-one replacement of the existing fleet could be worth $60 billion to $80 billion, analysts have estimated, WSJ added. (Boeing; WSJ; Photo: DEFIANT X illustration © Sikorsky-Boeing)