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SAIC Loses Bid Protest for U.S. Army Ground Combat Vehicle

Dec. 5 (Bloomberg) -- SAIC Inc.’s protest of the U.S. Army’s decision to award development contracts for a new ground combat vehicle to two competitors was denied by the Government Accountability Office.

The decision was released in an e-mail today by Ralph White, managing associate general counsel for procurement law at the GAO.

“Our review of the record led us to conclude that the Army’s evaluation decisions resulting in the award of only 2 contracts were reasonable, consistent with the stated evaluation criteria, and did not improperly favor the successful offerors over SAIC,” White wrote.

SAIC, based in McLean, Virginia, on Aug. 26 protested the Army’s award a week earlier of technology development contracts to two competing industry teams.

The Pentagon announced on Aug. 18 that a team led by BAE Systems Plc of London received a $450 million contract and a team led by General Dynamics Corp. of Falls Church, Virginia, received a $440 million contract.

“We are disappointed to learn that the GAO did not sustain SAIC’s protest, and as a result of that decision will not grant the requested relief to award a third GCV contract to SAIC’s Team Full Spectrum,” Melissa Koskovich, a spokeswoman for SAIC, wrote in an e-mail. “We are confident that our innovative approach provided a best value solution to the Army and U.S. taxpayers.”

International Partners

SAIC was partnered with Chicago-based Boeing Co., as well as Germany’s Krauss-Maffei Wegmann GmbH and Rheinmetall AG.

The Army initially planned to award up to three contracts for the 24-month technology development phase of the program. The overall program is estimated to cost as much as $40 billion, according to a March GAO report.

The service wants to buy as many as 1,874 vehicles to replace a portion of its fleet of Bradley infantry fighting vehicles. The new armored vehicles are designed to carry nine soldiers and their equipment.

Army Secretary John McHugh on Nov. 2 said the service may also consider buying for the program Germany’s Puma vehicle, made by a joint venture of Krauss-Maffei Wegmann and Rheinmetall, and Israel’s Namer, made by General Dynamics.

Program Frozen

White of the GAO wrote that the decision “expresses no view as to the merits” of the initial proposals and that the bid-protest process examines whether procuring agencies complied with statutory and regulatory requirements.

SAIC’s protest froze development of the program for about three months. The Army wanted to begin delivering the vehicle in seven years, or fiscal 2018.

“We’re ready to support the Army,” Rob Doolittle a spokesman for General Dynamics, said in a telephone interview. “We’re looking forward to getting back to work on the contract.”

The General Dynamics team includes Lockheed Martin Corp., Raytheon Co. and Tognum AG. The BAE Systems team includes Northrop Grumman Corp., QinetiQ Group Plc, iRobot Corp., Tognum AG and Saft Groupe SA, according to the company.

“We are pleased with this decision as it paves the way for this important program to progress, and we look forward to working with our Army customer to move ahead,” Shannon Booker, a BAE spokeswoman, wrote in an e-mail.

To contact the reporters on this story: Brendan McGarry in Washington at bmcgarry2@bloomberg.net; Danielle Ivory in Washington at divory@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Silva at msilva34@bloomberg.net

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