Competitors Will Not Protest Air Force Award for Huey Replacement Helicopter

Lockheed Martin’s [LMT] Sikorsky subsidiary and Sierra Nevada Corp. will not protest the Air Force’s recent contract award for the UH-1N “Huey” helicopter replacement, securing the lucrative contract for the winning team of Boeing [BA] and Italy-based Leonardo.

“After a thorough review of the debriefing materials, Sikorsky has chosen not to protest the U.S. Air Force’s decision on the UH-1N Huey Replacement Program,” a company spokesperson said Tuesday in an emailed statement. “Sikorsky remains confident that its HH-60U Black Hawk offering is the strongest, most capable solution for the critical no-fail mission of protecting our nation’s nuclear missile silos and supporting the continuity-of-government mission. We look forward to working with the Air Force on future procurements and remain committed to delivering superior helicopters on our existing and future contracts.”

Boeing MH-139, the company's offering to replace the Air Force's UH-1N helicopters based on Leonardo Helicopter’s AW139. Artist conception: Boeing.

Boeing MH-139, the company's offering to replace the Air Force's UH-1N helicopters based on Leonardo Helicopter’s AW139. Artist conception: Boeing.

Sierra Nevada Corp. also submitted a proposal for the Huey replacement contract to provide refurbished Black Hawks branded as the Sierra Force, but it will not protest the award, according to a company-emailed statement issued Tuesday.

"While we are disappointed by the recent UH-1N announcement, Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) will not protest the decision,” the statement said. “We are confident that our innovative Sierra Force™ helicopter provides an affordable and high-performance solution and we remain committed to offering this advanced, disruptive technology in both domestic and international rotary-wing markets."

The Air Force awarded the $2.4 billion UH-1N replacement contract to the Boeing-Leonardo team on Sept. 24 (Defense Daily). The team submitted Leonardo’s MH-139 platform, which will be built at the company’s Philadelphia facility. The contract includes 84 aircraft, and the first operational helicopter delivery is expected by fiscal year 2021. The Air Force has not responded to multiple requests as to when the protest period officially ended for the Huey replacement program.

The UH-1N replacement contract is one of three major awards Boeing has received within the last two months. In late August, the Navy announced the company had won the engineering, manufacturing and development phase contract for the MQ-25 unmanned aerial tanker program, and will build four aircraft as part of the $805 million deal (Defense Daily).

The following month, Boeing was declared the winner of the Air Force’s advanced pilot trainer – or T-X – contract, along with its partner, Sweden-based Saab. The program of record includes 351 aircraft, 46 simulators and ground equipment, and the contract could be worth up to $9.2 billion. (Defense Daily).

It remains to be seen whether Lockheed Martin plans to protest the T-X award. It submitted a proposal along with partner Korea Aerospace Industries for the T-50A jet trainer. Leonardo DRS – the U.S. subsidiary for Leonardo – pitched its T-100 aircraft as well.

More Stories You Might Like