Lockheed Martin has filed a formal protest against the US Navy’s decision to award a next-generation radar contract to the competitor Raytheon.
Lockheed, Pentagon’s number one supplier and producer of the integrated naval Aegis combat system said it did not believe the merits of its bid were properly considered during the Navy’s evaluation process.
"After careful consideration, Lockheed Martin has protested the Navy's award of the Air and Missile Defense Radar (AMDR) contract," said Lockheed’s spokesman Keith Little. "We submitted a technically compliant solution at a very affordable price."
The protest, filed with the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) was initiated after New Jersey law makers raised concerns about the Raytheon contract award, arguing it would be more expensive than the Lockheed proposal.
The GAO now has 100 days to decide.
Earlier this month, Raytheon won over Lockheed and Northrop Grumman and was awarded a contract to design a next-generation air and missile defence radar for use on the Navy's Aegis destroyers starting in 2016.
Under the contract, Raytheon will build and test the new air and missile defence radar that will replace the existing SPY-1 radar built by Lockheed.
"We've been engaged on it, the Aegis system, for the past 42 years," said Lockheed Chief Executive Marillyn Hewson earlier this week. "We had deep understanding of that program and of the mission, so we were certainly disappointed."
Lockheed’s proposal was supported by both, Republican and Democratic politicians of New Jersey, where the company builds its radar systems. The lawmakers have stated the company’s experience with radar technology and the Aegis system in particular as Lockheed’s main advantage compared with Raytheon.
"We are most concerned that the Navy's AMDR contract award decision, if implemented, would incur significant costs at this time of severe defence budget restrictions," they wrote, saying the decision could result in $400 million of extra costs.