GAO Rejects Sikorsky’s Pre-Award Protest of the UH-1N Replacement Program

A UH-1N Helicopter from the 40th Helicopter Squadron prepares to take off from a refueling helicopter pad at a missile alert facility May 11, 2017, at Malmstrom AFB, Mont. Air Force photo SSgt. Delia Marchick.

Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company, is “reviewing” its “options” after the Government Accountability Office dismissed its pre-award protest of the Air Force’s UH-1N helicopter replacement program, allowing the service to move forward with source selection.

“We remain confident the Sikorsky HH-60U offering is the strongest, most capable and only technically compliant solution for the UH-1N Huey replacement program,” company spokeswoman Melissa Chadwick told Air Force Magazine in an emailed statement. “We remain committed to supporting the Air Force and providing them with a proven, in-production military aircraft for the critical no-fail mission of protecting our nation’s nuclear missile silos and supporting the continuity-of-government mission.”

Lockheed’s highly unusual decision to protest before USAF awarded a contract, was based primarily on concerns related to intellectual property rights.

Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek said the service planned to award a contract for “up to 84” replacement helicopters by the end of the fiscal year.

“The Air Force remains committed to delivering a UH-1N replacement as soon as possible. UH-1Ns are one part of a multi-layered ICBM defense system,” said Stefanek. “DOD will continue to take actions necessary to mitigate UH-1N capability shortfalls. Our nation’s nuclear deterrent remain safe, secure, effective, and ready.”