Lockheed, Boeing Lose $1.3B Future US Army Helicopter Protest to Bell

The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) has rejected Sikorsky-Boeing’s protest regarding the $1.3-billion future vertical lift capability contract awarded to Bell Textron.

Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin subsidiary, and its partner challenged the US Army’s decision to procure Bell’s V-280 Valor tiltrotor for the Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) program.

According to the GAO, the service reasonably evaluated the protester’s proposal but it was deemed “technically unacceptable” because some requirements were not met.

For example, the report cited Sikorsky’s failure to provide the level of architectural detail required by the request for proposal.

The office also denied the protester’s claim regarding the acceptability of Bell’s proposal and the alleged violation of the terms of solicitation or applicable procurement law.

“GAO’s decision expresses no view as to the merits of these proposals,” GAO official Kenneth Patton said in a statement sent to the media. “Judgments about which offeror will most successfully meet the government’s needs are reserved for the procuring agencies, subject only to statutory and regulatory requirements.”

The GAO has yet to issue a full report regarding its decision.

The Protest

In December last year, the US Army finally ended years of lengthy testing process and selected Bell Textron to produce its FLRAA next-generation aircraft.

The tiltrotors are set to replace 2,000 Black Hawk and 1,200 Apache helicopters.

However, the team of Sikorsky and Boeing did not agree with the decision, saying their Defiant X proposal was a more capable, affordable, and lowest-risk solution than the V-280 Valor.

The team also challenged several areas of the decision, including the evaluation done on the competing aircraft’s engineering design and development.

“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,” Sikorsky stated in December.

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