Davis defended the Air Force’s handling of a $6.8 billion rescue helicopter competition that saw all but one competitor withdraw last week, saying the program was structured to clearly tell potential bidders what capabilities the Air Force wanted and what it could afford.
“If we had the budgets of 10 years ago, we’d have a different discussion. That’s not the case anymore,” he said, denying that the terms of the competition had been written to favor the Black Hawk helicopter built by Sikorsky Aircraft, a unit of United Technologies.
“Nothing could be further from the truth,” he said, adding that the Air Force would require Sikorsky to submit certified cost and pricing data if it turned out to be the sole bidder for the program when bids are due on January 3.
Boeing, Bell Helicopter, a unit of Textron, EADS and Northrop Grumman teamed with AgustaWestland, a unit of Italy’s Finmeccanica, all announced last week they would not bid for the work.
Davis said there was still a possibility the other potential bidders could change their minds and submit bids.
“We have seen that in major competitions before, these false punts, so to speak,” Davis said. “I’m not surprised by anything I see these days.”