Lockheed Martin’s Sikorsky has filed a formal protest to the US Government Accountability Office (GAO), asking for a review of the US Army’s decision to award the Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) contract to Bell Textron.
Earlier this month, the army revealed it picked Bell’s V-280 Valor tiltrotor aircraft over the Defiant X coaxial rotor solution offered by Sikorsky and Boeing.
Some three weeks after the contract award, Sikorsky says it is protesting the decision “based on a thorough review of the information and feedback provided by the Army.”
“The data and discussions lead us to believe the proposals were not consistently evaluated to deliver the best value in the interest of the Army, our soldiers and American taxpayers,” the company said in a statement.
A decision on the challenge is to be released by GAO by April 2023, according to regulation.
The initial FLRAA contract is worth up to $1.3 billion, while the low-rate production phase is estimated at around $7 billion. The US Army expects its Combat Aviation Brigades to field the V-280 Valor in 2030.
In total, the army could spend up to $80 billion on the program, if the full complement of aircraft is ordered, include potential foreign military sales.
FLRAA will be replacing the Sikorsky Black Hawk helicopter in service, but not on a one-to-one basis.
The service expects to receive a physical prototype of the FLRAA in 2025, with the first units expected to be operational by 2030.