LOCKHEED MARTIN HAS protested to the US Department of Defense (DoD) after cost data provided to the Joint Advanced Strike Technology (JAST) programme office were inadvertently sent to rivals Boeing and McDonnell Douglas (MDC). The protest has delayed release of the request for proposals (RFP) for the JAST concept-demonstrator phase, due on 7 March.

Lockheed Martin refuses to comment, but the JAST programme office confirms that the company has filed an "agency-level" protest, which is holding up the RFP. The programme office expects investigation of the protest to be completed by 22 March.

The incident is believed to involve the inadvertent faxing of Lockheed Martin pricing to Boeing and MDC. All three are competing for two concept-demonstrator contracts. One of the two winning teams will then be selected to develop the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF).

The protest could delay the award of two contracts to build competing X-32 and X-35 JAST concept-demonstrators, planned for October. The aircraft will demonstrate versions of the winners' JSF designs: the conventional-take-off and landing US Air Force version, the carrier-capable US Navy variant, and the short-take-off and vertical-landing US Marine Corps/Royal Navy adaptation.

Source: Flight International