Canada has named CAE as the only compliant bidder to provide training systems for its planned Boeing CH-47F Chinook heavylift helicopters and Lockheed Martin C-130J Hercules tactical transports.

The Canadian company says its response to the government's statement of interest and qualification (SOIQ) process for an operational training systems provider was the only one deemed compliant. L-3 Communications' Canadian subsidiary L-3 MAS also submitted a bid.

Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) will now release a request for proposals to CAE for training equipment and services over 20 years to support the 16 Chinooks and 17 Hercules it plans to buy. CAE's team includes Canadian firms Atlantis Systems, Bombardier, MDA, Ngrain, Simgraph and Xwave.

Government procurement agency PWGSC also used the SOIQ process to select the C-130J, prompting opposition accusations that it had rigged the C$4.9 billion ($5.2 billion) procurement in favour of the Lockheed design. The Ottawa government, however, insisted the process was "fair and transparent".

Contract protests are uncommon in Canada, but PWGSC is embroiled in controversy over Lockheed's C$126 million deal to supply 36 Sniper XR targeting pods for Canadian Forces' Boeing CF-18s. After a protest by losing bidder Northrop Grumman, a trade tribunal in September ordered the government to re-evaluate the bids. Ottawa challenged the ruling, but in October the Federal Court of Appeal ruled that PWGSC had to comply.

Ottawa says PWGSC has not suspended the contract as ordered because it has already incurred substantial costs and achieving initial operational capability in April 2008 depends on the timely delivery of pods. Lockheed is continuing work on the project, and says two pods have already been installed on CF-18s for testing. Losing bidders Northrop and Raytheon argue their bids were lower because Lockheed's pod is not qualified on the F-18.

Source: Flight International