The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) has dismissed Advanced Turbine Engine Company’s (ATEC) protest against the contract awarded to GE Aviation to supply solutions for the US Army’s Improved Turbine Engine Program (ITEP).
GE Aviation secured a $517m contract in February for the engineering and manufacturing development phase of the ITEP programme.
The company will provide its T901-GE-900 turboshaft engine for the army’s Boeing AH-64 Apaches and Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawks.
Currently, the Apaches and Black Hawks are powered by GE’s T700 engine.
Additionally, the US Army expects the ITEP engine to meet future attack reconnaissance aircraft (FARA) requirements for its future vertical lift (FVL).
Following the selection of GE’s T901-GE-900 engine, ATEC, a joint venture between Honeywell International and Pratt & Whitney, registered its protest with the GAO against the army’s choice.
In its protest, ATEC alleged that its engine was not selected despite being a technically superior and lower risk option.
GE Aviation has welcomed the GAO decision, stating that it will enable it to proceed with the execution of the programme.
GE Aviation military business president and CEO Tony Mathis said: “We’ve spent the last 12 years developing the T901 engine, including successful completion of the Advanced Affordable Turbine Engine (AATE) programme, a Technology Maturation and Risk Reduction (TMRR) contract, and three full engine tests.
“We’re ready to execute on this contract and deliver the improved capabilities of the T901 to the warfighter.”
The company noted that the T901 engine can increase power output by 50% and deliver improved fuel efficiency and lower lifecycle costs.
In response to the GAO decision, ATEC said in a statement: “We are disappointed in the outcome and are currently reviewing the decision in detail. The GAO findings notwithstanding, a procurement this crucial should never be made based on paper proposals. Indeed, it is customary for the Pentagon to thoroughly test competing engines before making a final down select.
“Therefore, we have recommended that Congress provide the funding to allow the army to take both engines further into the EMD phase of the procurement before making a final selection.”