Just when the Royal Canadian Air Force thought it could put a 14-year acquisition process to bed, Team Spartan has challenged the fixed-wing search and rescue (FWSAR) award to Airbus Defence & Space.

Team Spartan filed a 6 January application for judicial review before the Federal Court challenging the Public Services and Procurement Canada’s award decision, according to a 23 February Team Spartan press release. During the protracted competition, Airbus had pitted their C295 turboprop against Leonardo’s C-27J Spartan. Brazilian-based Embraer also put forth its KC-390 twinjet and Lockheed Martin ultimately backed out of its HC-130J proposal.

“Team Spartan’s main allegation is that the selected airplane is unfit to safely perform certain key search and rescue tasks and missions required by Canada and should have been, therefore, disqualified,” the release states. “Based on the above, Team Spartan has applied to the Federal Court for an order requesting that Canada cancel the contract with Airbus and award same to Leonardo.”

The Canadian government announced the $2.4 billion award, with options on extended support that could increase the total award to $4.7 billion by 2042, on 8 December. Airbus will deliver 16 C295s between 2019 and 2022 to replace to replace six de Havilland Canada CC-155 Buffalos and 13 CC-130H Hercules.

Team Spartan’s rebuke of Airbus’ award could have its roots in reports that the Canadian government developed requirements that favored the C-27J. After pausing the competition for five years, the RCAF commissioned an independent review of the requirements, FlightGlobal previously reported. In 2015, the review showed no bias toward any bidder.

Source: FlightGlobal.com