Decision angers Honeywell, which criticises service for not issuing request for proposals
Turbomeca has been selected to re-engine US Coast Guard Eurocopter HH-65 Dolphin helicopters. Integrated Coast Guard Systems (ICGS), prime contractor for the USCG's Deepwater re-equipment programme, says only the French manufacturer's bid met both the power output and timescale requirements of the urgent re-engining programme.
Lockheed Martin/Northrop Grumman joint venture ICGS was tasked on 15 January with identifying and implementing a re-engining solution within 150 days, the USCG citing a recent spate of partial power-loss incidents with the Honeywell LTS101-powered HH-65 (Flight International, 2-8 March).
Four companies responded to a request for information (RFI): Honeywell offered its HTS900; Honeywell/Rolls-Royce joint venture LHTEC submitted its CTS800; Pratt & Whitney Canada bid with its PT6B-37; and Turbomeca proposed its Arriel 2C2-CG.
Honeywell has criticised the Coast Guard for selecting Turbomeca without issuing a request for proposals (RFP). "Honeywell met the Coast Guard RFI requirements and is expecting an RFP under the competitive process," the company says.
ICGS says, however: "Only Turbomeca's response to the RFI met both the power output requirement and timescale placed on ICGS by the US Coast Guard," adding that issuing an RFP to two or more companies would have prevented it meeting the USCG's deadline of 15 July to begin the re-engining programme.
Turbomeca can meet the urgent requirement because the Arriel 2C2-CG has already been qualified on the HH-65 using USCG money.
The USCG has acknowledged that it used funding originally earmarked for development of a full-authority digital engine control system for the LTS101 to pay Eurocopter to qualify the Arriel on the HH-65. Honeywell has accused the USCG of reneging on an agreement struck last year under which the manufacturer and the Coast Guard would respectively address engine- and airframe-related issues with the LTS101's control system.
ICGS says four different audits of the Deepwater programme are under way by the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General and the General Accounting Office, but will not comment on reports that the HH-65 re-engining programme specifically is under investigation.
GRAHAM WARWICK / WASHINGTON DC
Source: Flight International