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Monday, November 20, 2006

GAO: Army Used Reasonable Standards in LUH Choice

The U.S. General Accountability Office, in rejecting AgustaWestland and MD Helicopters’ protests of the U.S. Army’s Light Utility Helicopter award, found the service’s judgment of the competitors was reasonable and in line with the criteria laid out in the program’s request for proposals. The office recently released a version of its decision, which sensitive and proprietary information redacted. The Army, on June 30, gave EADS North America the contract to provide up to 352 aircraft based on Eurocopter’s EC145. AgustaWestland essentially argued that the aircraft it bid, the AW139, “can fly farther, faster, and can carry more people and more weight than EADS’s aircraft,” the GAO found, but the Army justifiably concluded the added capability wasn’t essential to the LUH’s missions or worth the AW139’s higher cost. MD primarily said the Army’s rating of its bid as “marginal and high-risk rating” on technical grounds did not “accurately reflect the merits” of MD’s proposal. But the GAO found “no merit to [the company’s] contention that the agency was too harsh in its criticisms” of it.
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