Leonardo’s AgustaWestland is now cleared to build the Navy’s new helicopter trainer after the Government Accountability Office (GAO) denied a protest of its win by competitor Airbus Helicopters.
In January, the Navy awarded Leonardo an initial $176 million contract to produce and deliver 32 TH-73A Advanced Helicopter Training Systems with its bid of the TH-110 helicopter. The aircraft is derived from the company’s AW109 Trekker (Defense Daily, Jan. 13).
The Nayv expects to eventually procure up to 130 helicopters to divest from the existing fleet of TH-57 Sea Rangers by 2023. The TH-57s are used to train all Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard rotorcraft pilots.
However, in February Airbus lodged a protest with the GAO. The Navy previously confirmed amid the protest it issued a stop work order while the process was ongoing (Defense Daily, Feb. 7).
Airbus offered the twin-engine H135 and Bell [TXT] pitched the single-engine 407GXi, a descendent of the TH-57.
GAO’s decision did not disclose why it denied the protest, only saying it was covered by a protective order. That means some information in the decision may require redaction before public release. The office said a final redacted decision will be posted when the process is finished.