Lockheed Martin’s Sikorsky business has decided not to pursue additional legal action regarding the award of a Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) development contract to Bell Textron by the Army Contracting Command – Redstone Arsenal, the company announced on 18 April 2023.
The FLRAA contest saw the SB>1 Defiant compound helicopter pitched by Sikorsky in partnership with Boeing vying against the Bell V-280 Valor tiltrotor.
On 5 December 2022 the US Army announced that it had downselected Bell’s V-280 Valor to move the programme forward, but Sikorsky protested the decision on 28 December. The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) then denied that protest on 6 April 2023.
“We are disappointed with the Government Accountability Office decision and remain convinced that our Defiant X offering represented both the best value for the taxpayer and the transformational technology that our warfighters need to execute their complex missions,” said a Lockheed Martin Sikorsky statement. “We value our long-standing partnership with the US Army, and serving their missions remains our top priority. We are focused on driving innovation and delivering the transformational Raider X for the Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft [(FARA) programme], modernized Black Hawks and future technology critical to mission readiness for the United States and Allied nations.”
For the FARA programme Sikorsky’s S-97 Raider X compound coaxial helicopter is again bidding against a Bell platform: the 360 Invictus helicopter. The FARA programme is designed to fill the US Army’s capability gap left by the retirement of the Bell OH-58 Kiowa scout helicopter between 2014 and 2017.
Competitive flight testing of the FARA candidates has been delayed and is currently slated to begin in late 2023 at the earliest.
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