Connecticut Lawmakers Want Answers for Rejected Army Contract

by Christian Wade


Connecticut’s congressional delegation is calling on the Army to provide more details about its decision to reject a local company’s bid for a multimillion dollar defense contract to build long-range helicopters.

In a letter to Army Secretary Christine Wormuth, Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, and Reps. Rosa DeLauro, John Larson, Joe Courtney, Jim Himes and Jahana Hayes request a “detailed briefing” by the Army about why Sikorsky’s bid to build long-range assault aircraft was rejected.

“As you may be aware, there has been a considerable amount of confusion and valid criticism surrounding the award,” the lawmaker wrote. “It is our understanding that Sikorsky’s bid for FLRAA was significantly superior in terms of cost, but that due to a subjective unsatisfactory evaluation on a single criteria, Sikorsky’s bid was rejected and never fully evaluated.”

Sikorsky Aircraft, maker of the iconic Blackhawk helicopters, submitted a proposal to the Army to produce its Defiant-X helicopter as part of the next generation of long-range helicopters. But the Army said last month it was awarding the $1.3 billion contract to Bell Textron, a Texas-based company.

The Army’s decision could impact an agreement that Sikorsky signed with Connecticut to keep its operations in the state in exchange for hefty tax breaks. The deal, signed in April, made Sikorsky eligible for up to $75 million in tax credits, contingent on it securing two major military contracts to produce helicopters and other equipment.

The package of tax breaks and incentives were aimed at ensuring the firm remains headquartered in Connecticut for at least another 20 years.

Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company, has filed a formal protest asking the U.S. Government Accountability Office to review the Army’s decision to reject their bid.

The Army has defended its decision, saying it followed a “deliberate and disciplined process” in evaluating proposals for its Future Long Range Assault Aircraft contract to “ensure rigorous review and equitable treatment of both competitors.”

Since the appeal was filed, members of the state’s congressional delegation said Army officials have refused to meet with them to discuss the issue, and “falsely claimed that a potential or pending GAO protest precludes timely oversight from the United States Congress.”

“Furthermore, the Department of the Army has cited no statutory basis for withholding information from Congress and the GAO has confirmed that no part of the pending protest prevents the Army from briefing Members of Congress,” the lawmakers wrote.

The delegation said it is “imperative” the Army’s procurement process is “fair, transparent, and most importantly in the best interests of the American taxpayer.”

“It is simply unacceptable for the Army to continue to thwart our oversight responsibilities as members of Congress that are mandated in the U.S. Constitution,” they wrote.

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Christian Wade is a contributor to The Center Square. 
Photo “Richard Blumenthal” by Richard Blumenthal. Photo “Chris Murphy” by Chris Murphy. Background Photo “Helicopter” by Sikorsky.





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