Home Air GAO denies Sikorsky’s protest over US Army FLRAA award to Bell Textron

GAO denies Sikorsky’s protest over US Army FLRAA award to Bell Textron

Bell's V-280 Valor Photo: Bell Textron

The Government Accountability Office has denied a protest by Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation over the Future Long Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) contract awarded by the U.S. Army to Bell Textron Inc., rejecting Sikorsky’s challenge to the decision, April 6.

The contract aims to produce new vertical lift aircraft to replace the H‑60 Black Hawk utility helicopter fleet with a total value of approximately $7.1 billion, with the first aircraft set to be fielded by fiscal year 2030.

Sikorsky contested the U.S. government’s rating of its proposal as unacceptable under the engineering design and development evaluation factor, architecture subfactor, which made it ineligible for the award. Sikorsky also disputed the government’s assessments of Bell Textron’s proposal and the engineering design and development, product supportability, cost/price evaluation, and best-value tradeoff decision.

The GAO rejected Sikorsky’s protest, stating that the Army had reasonably evaluated Sikorsky’s proposal as technically unacceptable due to the lack of architectural detail required by the RFP. Also, they rejected Sikorsky’s claims about Bell’s proposal and dismissed additional arguments, as Sikorsky was no longer an interested party to challenge the procurement further.

The FLRAA is intended to eventually replace the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter, which has been in service for more than four decades. (Photo: Sikorsky)

GAO said its decision does not assess the quality of the proposals but rather confirms that it is the procuring agency’s responsibility to determine the best offeror based on legal and regulatory requirements. The GAO’s bid protest process only examines whether the procuring agencies have complied with procurement laws and regulations.

Due to the presence of proprietary and sensitive information related to the source selection, GAO issued the decision under a protective order. The parties’ counsel have been directed to identify the information that cannot be released publicly so that a public version of the decision can be prepared and released soon by GAO.