Lockheed Martin has asked the US General Accounting Office to investigate the US Air Force's 6 March decision to award Raytheon a $64.2 million contract to produce Paveway II laser-guided bomb (LGB) kits for the US Navy. The award cemented Raytheon's role as the predominant Paveway producer.

Raytheon was the Paveway sole source from the late 1960s, but under Congressional pressure, the USN last year allowed Lockheed Martin to again compete for the work. Lockheed Martin became a second source for Paveway in 1988, but won no contracts after planned production was cut.

Lockheed Martin says it "has clearly demonstrated" the capability to produce Paveway kits and adds: "We do not understand how the USAF could find us unqualified to bid. We believe we had an excellent proposal that supported the Air Force requirements." Company funding was used to qualify and flight test kits.

Supplemental funding following the 1999 Operation Allied Force against Yugoslavia included $103 million to replenish Paveway II stocks. The USAF's share was $43 million, which went to Raytheon. The USN awarded a $9 million contract to Lockheed Martin for 500 GBU-16 Paveway II kits, and held a competition for additional kits.

An LGB kit consists of a front-end guidance system and an aerofoil group at the rear of the warhead. The contract covers nearly 2,000 guidance systems, 977 GBU-16 aerofoil groups and an equal number of GBU-12 tail kits.

Source: Flight International