TEAC Aerospace Technologies, a division of United Technologies, is protesting the selection of an Israeli-built mission data recorder on 12 Lockheed Martin F-16 fighters ordered by Oman according to a leaked memo.
"Recently, we were disappointed to learn that our MDR-80 mission data recorder, and GDS debrief software was NOT included in the baseline for your new purchase of F-16s from Lockheed Martin," a memo addressed to Royal Air Force of Oman (RAFO) Colonel Khalid Al-Raisi reads. "We understand our system has been replaced by RADA Electronic Industries out of Netanya, Israel and that Lockheed Martin is procuring this system through GE/Smiths."
In the memo, TEAC notes that its mission recorders already fly on Oman's existing F-16 fleet in addition to its BAE Systems Hawk jet trainers and Agusta Westland Lynx helicopters. The company asserts that the installation of its MDR-80 recorders on Omani Hawks was predicated upon the cost benefits of having common hardware and debrief software across multiple platforms. "Installing the RADA system on your new F-16s will have multiple negative consequences, including increased costs due to complete lack of commonality within your F-16 fleet, a new mission debrief interface for the RAFO pilots to learn, and a convoluted logistics support chain," the company asserts in the memo.
TEAC also claims that the Israeli-developed recorder was rejected by a number of other Middle Eastern powers. "The RADA mission data recorder system which we understand was proposed by Lockheed Martin was recently rejected by the Iraqi, Egyptian, and Turkish air forces," the memo reads.
By contrast, TEAC says its system is combat proven and has "unparalleled" mean time between failure rates. "We are unaware of any unfavorable technical or support issues which would have precluded the rejection of our MDR-80 and GDS, and its possible replacement by the RADA system," TEAC memo reads.
Additionally, the company notes that its MDR-80 is the baseline recorder for the Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft. Oman is thought be considering the purchase of the pan-European twin-engine fighter.
Lockheed Martin declined to comment on the matter. "As a matter of record, Lockheed Martin does not comment on customer requirements," the company says. Neither RADA nor the government of Oman could be reached by press time.
Source: Flight International