He denied that the terms of the competition had been written to favor the Black Hawk helicopter built by Sikorsky, and said Sikorsky would be asked to submit certified cost and pricing data if it turned out to be the sole bidder for the program.
A Sikorsky spokesman said the company was aware that it could be asked to provide such data if no other bids came in. Lockheed Martin Corp is a key subcontractor on the Sikorsky bid.
Boeing, Bell Helicopter, a unit of Textron Inc, EADS and Northrop Grumman Corp teamed with AgustaWestland, a unit of Italy’s Finmeccanica SpA, announced last month that they would not bid for the work.
At the time, industry executives said the bidding rules were so narrowly framed that they effectively excluded all but Sikorsky’s Black Hawk helicopter from the competition, and would not reward extra capability offered by other aircraft.
Davis last month said that the Air Force had already drawn up plans for how to handle the procurement if only one company submitted a bid, although he said the service would have preferred to have a competitive process with more bidders.
He said the Air Force’s move away from more “nebulous” and “open-ended” procurements was a positive thing for industry, allowing companies to make more informed decisions about whether to spend money preparing a bid for a given competition.
He said the change toward more narrowly-defined requirements for military equipment was a result of multiple protests filed by companies in recent years that challenged the more open and subjective way procurements were structured in the past.
Boeing won the Air Force’s last rescue helicopter competition with its H-47 helicopter, only to see the $15 billion contract after several protests by losing bidders.
“This is clearly a result of all of the issues that have accumulated over the years of all of these high visibility protests,” he said. As a result, the Air Force was now being more diligent in how it structured its acquisition programs.