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Thursday, January 24, 2013

ITT Exelis Protests FAA's Datacomm Contract

  by Emily Feliz

ITT Exelis filed a formal protest with FAA over the $331 million datacomm contract awarded to Harris Corp. in September, Avionics Magazine has learned.

The protest, which was filed in November with FAA's Office of Dispute Resolution for Acquisition (ODRA) for review, asks the agency to review "aspects of the evaluation that warrant further review," ITT said in a statement. ITT and Lockheed Martin submitted unsuccessful bids for the contract last year.

“We believe ITT Exelis delivered an exceptional technical solution that offered a wide degree of flexibility and cost savings to the government. As in any solicitation there are many evaluation criteria. In this case we believe some aspects of the evaluation warrant further review, leading us to follow due process and request an ODRA review. The decision to protest was not made lightly. Exelis is committed to providing the best value solution to the FAA customer and are optimistic about our prospects for a positive outcome from this protest," Exelis said in a statement to Avionics Magazine. The company did not provide any further details on the specific aspects that it felt needed further evaluation.

The Data Communications Integrated Services (DCIS) contract, a key part of the NextGen airspace modernization initiative, will replace voice communications with data messages sent between the cockpit and the air traffic control tower with the goal of more efficient pilot-controller communications and more efficient operations. The DCIS contract will provide ground-to-ground and air-to-ground segments of the data communications system, with special attention paid to the interoperability of the data communications services and avionics. It will be rolled out in 2015 in the tower domain and in 2018-2022 for the en route environment. More

FAA could provide no details about the protest process or give any timeline for its resolution.

Harris declined to comment on the contract protest. The Harris team includes Thales, GE Aviation and an undisclosed airline partner.

The ITT Exelis-led team includes Airbus, United Airlines, JetBlue Airways, CSC, Rockwell Collins, Raytheon, General Dynamics, Aerospace Engineering, Airtel ATN, Alvarez Group, AT&T, EMS Aviation, NAV CANADA, Northrop Grumman, NEXA Capital Partners, PwC, Selex Communications, Saab Sensis, Crown Consulting, HyperNet Solutions, Lexem Strategy, Tantus and UPS.

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