Sikorsky and Boeing are protesting the Army‘s decision to award a lucrative defense contract to replace the service’s Black Hawk helicopters with a tiltrotor aircraft manufactured by Bell Textron.
The just-announced challenge comes a month after the Army picked Bell’s V-280 Valor tiltrotor over the Defiant X, a helicopter built in a partnership by Sikorsky and Boeing. The contract is worth $1.3 billion and could accelerate as additional helicopters are bought by the U.S. and other countries.
Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company, filed a formal protest this week asking the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) to review the Army‘s decision for what the service has called the Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA). Boeing said it supports the protest filed by its partner.
“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,” Sikorsky said in a statement. “The critical importance of the FLRAA mission to the Army and our nation requires the most capable, affordable and lowest-risk solution.”
Unlike most helicopters, Sikorsky‘s bid uses two counter-rotating coaxial main rotors and a pusher propeller that the company says will allow for quicker acceleration and deceleration.
“We remain confident Defiant X is the transformational aircraft the Army requires to accomplish its complex missions today and well into the future,” Sikorsky said in its protest.