Lockheed Martin has decided to appeal the US Navy’s decision to award a $1.1 billion contract to Northrop Grumman to develop the Broad Area Maritime Surveillance system.
Northrop’s RQ-4N Global Hawk won the BAMS contract on 22 April.
The company on 5 May filed a formal protest with the US Government Accountability Office (GAO), one week after receiving a debriefing from USN officials about the reasons for the decision.
“Information provided to us during our debrief indicated that we offered a technically compliant and awardable solution at significantly lower cost, leading us to request a [GAO] review,” the company says.
The USN, however, says the selection process “considered all proposals fairly, equally and in full compliance” with acquisition regulations.
“Lockheed Martin protests contract awards infrequently, and only when we believe that the benefits of our offerings were not fully considered during the evaluation process,” the company says.
Lockheed’s offer was based on the General Atomics Mariner, derived from the Predator B airframe, and an Israeli sensor. Another losing bidder – the Boeing/Gulstream team – will not formally protest, but will observe the GAO review “with interest”, Boeing says.
The USN selected Northrop to develop BAMS, anticipating a follow-on order for 48 to 68 aircraft. The BAMS fleet will serve as an adjunct to the Boeing P-8A multi-mission maritime aircraft fleet.