Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin [LMT] company, has filed a pre-contract-award protest with the Government Accountability Office (GAO) over the Air Force’s UH-1N Huey replacement program, saying the service expects the winning bidder to hand over too much intellectual property.

Based on discussions with the Air Force, Sikorsky said Feb. 14 that it is concerned about “overreaching” requirements that would give the service unlimited rights to its computer software and technical data. The company wants the Air Force to revise its request for proposals to address this concern. 

The Air Force wants to replace its aging UH-1N helicopter. Photo: Air Force.
The Air Force wants to replace its aging UH-1N helicopter. Photo: Air Force.

“We are seeking a fair RFP that complies with law and regulation that can obtain the Air Force’s true requirement — an off-the-shelf aircraft that meets all of the Air Force’s technical requirements,” said Steve Callaghan, vice president of strategy and business development at Sikorsky.

Sikorsky filed the protest Feb. 12. The GAO has until May 23 to weigh in.

Maj. Emily Grabowski, an Air Force spokeswoman, declined to respond to Lockheed Martin’s statement, saying the service “doesn’t comment on ongoing source selections.”

Sikorsky is offering the HH-60U, a variant of the UH-60M Black Hawk. Other bidders include Boeing [BA], whose MH-139 is based on Leonardo’s AW139, and Sierra Nevada Corp. (SNC), which proposes to upgrade Army UH-60A Black Hawks into UH-60L Force Hawks.

The Air Force plans to buy 84 helicopters to replace its aging Huey fleet. A contract award is slated for the third quarter of fiscal year 2018.

The new helicopter will protect intercontinental ballistic missile fields in Montana, North Dakota and Wyoming and provide emergency transport to support continuity-of-government operations in Washington, D.C.