Northrop Grumman has launched a protest against the US Air Force’s (USAF) decision to award the next-generation 3D expeditionary long-range radar (3DELRR) contract to Raytheon.
A formal protest was filed with the US Government Accountability Office (GAO), which now has 100 days to issue a decision, as reported by DefenseNews.
Northrop spokesman Randy Belote confirmed the protest, but refused to share further details.
Hanscom Air Force Base Spokeswoman Patty Welsh was quoted by Reuters as saying that the USAF has issued a stop-work order for the contract following the protest.
Early this month, Raytheon beat Northrop and Lockheed Martin to win a $19.5m contract for engineering and manufacturing development of a new expeditionary radar that can detect, identify and track drones, missiles and aircraft.
The contract includes procurement of three radars, and options for additional three systems and product support, which bring the total contract value to around $71.8m.
According to USAF Force officials, the losing bidders were briefed about their decision last week.
Meanwhile, Raytheon has committed to work closely with the air force to mitigate any resulting delays once the issue was resolved.
Raytheon spokesman Mike Doble told Reuters: "The Air Force ran a very tough but very fair competition, and selected the world leader in radar to build 3DELRR.
"We remain confident in our solution and we’re eager to move forward and deliver this much needed 3DELRR capability to the US and its friends and allies."
Representing one of the first programmes awarded under the Department of Defense’s Better Buying Power initiative, the 3DELRR programme will replace the USAF’s Vietnam-era AN/TPS-75 passive electronically scanned array air search radar system.
The 3DELRR contract’s value is expected to rise sharply in future, considering USAF’s plan to acquire more than 30 systems, and in anticipation of orders from foreign militaries.
Image: An AN/TPS-75 radar system deployed at Tobyhanna Army Depot in Pennsylvania, US. Photo: courtesy of Steve Grzezdzinski.