Raytheon has reportedly filed a suit against the US Air Force (USAF) in an effort to prevent it from re-evaluating the bids submitted for the next-generation 3D expeditionary long-range radar (3DELRR) contract.

The company beat Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin to win a $19.5m contract in October 2014 for engineering and manufacturing development of a new expeditionary radar that can detect, identify, and track drones, missiles, and aircraft.

The contract covers procurement of three radars, and options for an additional three systems and product support that brings the total value to around $71.8m.

However, the losing contractors filed formal protests with the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) against the USAF decision within weeks of the contract being awarded.

"We believe the air force awarded the procurement to Raytheon in a properly conducted bid process and we remain confident in our 3DELRR solution."

Last week, the air force announced its decision to re-evaluate bids after receiving feedback from the GAO, and noted that a new round of discussions with bidders on technical evaluations and pricing analysis may take about four months.

Raytheon spokesman Michael Nachshen was quoted by DefenseNews as saying: "On 26 January 2015, Raytheon filed an action in the Court of Federal Claims seeking to preserve the air force’s contract award.

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"We believe the air force awarded the procurement to Raytheon in a properly conducted bid process and we remain confident in our 3DELRR solution."

Even though the re-evaluation period may lead to a total re-competition of the programme, the contract could still remain with Raytheon if the Court of Federal Claims gives verdict in favour with the company.

A USAF spokesman did not immediately return a request for comment on the suit.

The 3DELRR radar is expected to serve as the principal long-range, ground-based sensor for detection, identification, tracking and reporting of aircraft and missiles at extended ranges in support of combatant commanders.

The radar is scheduled to replace the USAF’s Vietnam-era AN/TPS-75 passive electronically scanned array air search radar system.