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GAO denies Lockheed Martin's protest of Navy deal

GAO denies Lockheed Martin's protest of Navy deal

Government auditors denied Lockheed Martin's protest of a $1.16 billion Navy contract to develop unmanned aircraft that can patrol coastlines and open ocean because its proposal was deemed riskier than the other bids, according to details released Wednesday.
Los Angeles-based Northrop Grumman Corp. beat out Lockheed Martin Corp. and Chicago-based Boeing Co. in April to develop a plane for the Navy's Broad Area Maritime Surveillance _ or BAMS _ program. The contract could ultimately be worth billions based on the Navy's plans to buy 68 planes.
The Australian government, which has invested in the BAMS development program through a $15 million agreement with the U.S. Navy, is also expected to become a major customer.
Bethesda, Maryland-based Lockheed Martin filed a protest in May with the Government Accountability Office challenging the Navy's decision, saying its review of past performance was "inconsistent" with its request for bids and was "unreasonable in numerous aspects."
On its BAMS proposal, Lockheed partnered with General Atomics, maker of the Predator unmanned aerial vehicle currently being used in Iraq and Afghanistan by the Air Force. The Lockheed team offered the Mariner, a version of the Predator with longer wings, more fuel and capacity.
While all three competitors received similar ratings from the Navy, Lockheed's proposal had a "high-risk" based on past performance _ a key evaluation criteria, according to the GAO.
The GAO also said the service found "systemic problems" and a lack of improvement on the General Atomics aircraft, and felt similar problems were likely to be repeated on the BAMS program.
Lockheed Martin was disappointed with the GAO's decision, but said it was committed to working with the Navy on future programs.


Updated : 2021-08-03 00:13 GMT+08:00