According to a statement released yesterday evening by Lockheed Martin, the Government Accountability Office has sustained the company’s second protest over the Air Force’s combat search and rescue aircraft replacement program. CSAR-X competitor Sikorsky also submitted a second protest. And, Congress has asked for much more information about the service’s award process. This latest setback makes it extremely unlikely that USAF could award a new contract by year’s end. Lockheed spokesman Mike Drake said the company is “pleased with the GAO decision and await information from the Air Force on its plans to implement the recommended corrective action.” He added that Lockheed is still ready to “support a schedule that will deliver this urgently needed capability to the warfighter as quickly as possible.”
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.