The US Army passed a deadline in mid-December for reviewing its options on restructuring the Lockheed Martin-led Aerial Common Sensor (ACS) programme, but chose to extend the process for a further 30 days rather than make a decision.


The new delay comes three months after the army issued a stop-work order to allow Lockheed to focus on a restructuring plan. The manufacturer submitted a range of options to the army in mid-November, starting the clock on the initial 30-day review.

Lockheed’s options ranged from “doing something to simply not proceeding with the programme and terminating it. I think all those things are on the table right now”, chief executive Robert Stevens told Flight International.

The ACS programme stumbled last year after the army learned that Lockheed’s selected aircraft – Embraer’s ERJ-145 – was not large enough to meet the sensor payload’s power, cooling and weight requirements. Alternative aircraft under review are the Boeing 737, Bombardier Global Express XRS and Embraer 190. Gulfstream says its G550 is not being considered.

Meanwhile, Northrop Grumman says it will file a protest if the restructuring leads to the selection of a different aircraft as it lost to the Lockheed team in the initial competition offering the Gulfstream G450.

“We are following developments on the programme very closely,” says Northrop. “Should there be a significant departure from the request for proposal, we’ll certainly consider all our options,” the manufacturer adds.


Source: Flight International