By Andrea Shalal-Esa
WASHINGTON Nov 13 The U.S. Government
Accountability Office (GAO) on Wednesday ruled in favor of BAE
Systems PLC in the British company's protest of a U.S.
Navy decision to award to Raytheon Co a contract for a
next-generation electronic jammer, BAE and the Navy said.
The ruling reopens the procurement process for the jammer,
but it was not immediately clear when the contract bidding would
BAE protested to the GAO in July, saying it had concerns
over how the Navy had evaluated its offering to win a deal worth
about $279 billion.
"We are pleased that the GAO has sustained our protest. We
look forward to working with the Navy to ensure a fair and open
evaluation of our proposal for this important program," a BAE
In a report, the GAO, the audit and investigative arm of
Congress, criticized the Navy's handling of the procurement
process involved in awarding the contract.
The GAO said the Navy failed to reasonably evaluate the risk
of the proposals, did not adequately document its decisions, and
improperly credited Raytheon with outdated performance data.
It did not address the merits of the competing offers, which
came from Northrup Grumman Corp as well as BAE Systems.
"This is a very positive development for BAE, because they
get another crack at winning this crucial contract," said Loren
Thompson, chief operating officer of the Lexington Institute.
"However, there is no guarantee that Raytheon won't win this
again. The decision is about the process rather than the
substance of the proposal."
The new jammer will replace the ALQ-99 tactical jamming
system used on the EA-18G Growler aircraft build by Boeing Co.
The Navy has said the jammer will be critical for future
combat missions. The jamming pods will enable U.S. aircraft to
render enemy radars useless.