On Feb. 12, Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company, filed a pre-award protest with the Government Accountability Office (GAO), contending overreach by the U.S. Air Force in the technical data and computer software requirements for its UH-1N Huey replacement program.
Sikorsky is one of three bidders for the program, which will acquire up to 84 helicopters for use in protecting nuclear missile silos and ensuring the continuity of government operations. Sikorsky has submitted a modified version of the UH-60M Black Hawk for the competition (the HH-60U), while Boeing and Leonardo have teamed up to offer the Air Force the MH-139, a variant of the civil AW139. Sierra Nevada Corporation is also competing with its “Force Hawk,” an upgraded version of the Sikorsky UH-60L. The program is currently in the source selection phase.
The details of Sikorsky’s protest are esoteric, but the case could have important implications for the intellectual property rights of defense contractors. We’ve broken down some of the main questions about the case to help you understand what’s at stake.