Connecticut-Based Helicopter Firm Appeals Army Contract Rejection

by Christian Wade


With backing from Gov. Ned Lamont, a Connecticut-based company is appealing the U.S. Army’s rejection of its multimillion dollar bid for a defense contract to build long-range helicopters.

Sikorsky Aircraft, maker of the iconic Blackhawk helicopters, had submitted a proposal to the U.S. Army to produce its Defiant-X helicopter as part of the next generation of long-range helicopters. But the Army announced earlier this month that it was awarding the $1.3 billion contract to Bell Textron, a Texas-based company.

This week, Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company, filed a formal protest today asking the U.S. Government Accountability Office to review the Army’s decision on the Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft contract. The companies said the decision to appeal the contract was 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,” Lockheed Martin 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.”

The companies said they remain confident that the Defiant-X design is “the transformational aircraft the Army requires to accomplish its complex missions today and well into the future.”

In a statement, the Army said it followed a “deliberate and disciplined process” in evaluating proposals for its Future Long Range Assault Aircraft contract to “ensure rigorous review and equitable treatment of both competitors.”

The Army’s decision could impact an agreement that Sikorsky signed with Connecticut to keep its operations in the state in exchange for hefty tax breaks.

The deal, signed in April, made Sikorsky eligible for up to $75 million in tax credits, but that was contingent on it securing two major U.S. military contracts to produce helicopters and other equipment.

The package of tax breaks and incentives were aimed at ensuring the firm remains headquartered in Connecticut for at least another 20 years.

Lamont issued a statement saying he supports the appeal, and is confident that “Sikorsky is the best and most capable company to deliver this next generation aircraft to the U.S. Army and that Connecticut’s exceptionally skilled workforce is the best trained in the country to manufacture this aircraft.”

“A thorough evaluation of the process and each of the proposals is in the best interests of the military and the American taxpayers,” Lamont said.

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Christian Wade is a contributor to The Center Square. 
Photo “Ned Lamont” by The Office of Governor Ned Lamont. Background Photo “Lockheed Martin” by Lockheed Martin.




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