BiS: BusinessInSavannah.com - Business news for the creative coast.

Gulfstream partner appears to have lock on contract to replace Air Force’s aging electronic warfare planes

The U.S. Air Force is recapitalizing its Compass Call fleet and it appears the new version may be designed on a Gulfstream G550 airframe, despite protests from both Boeing and Bombardier that the single-source award to L3 Technologies is in violation of the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act.

Compass Call has been described by the Air Force Times as one of the least known — but most important — weapons in the fight against global terrorism.

According to Air Force Times, the EC-130H Compass Call program, launched in 1983, is a suite of complex communications-jamming systems situated aboard aging C-130 cargo planes. The specially outfitted planes have since served in every major U.S. operation from Kosovo to Afghanistan and have been continuously deployed to support U.S. Central Command since 2014.

In May, the Air Force indicated it would give L3 Technologies a single-source contract to determine the new airframe for the Compass Call contract, which calls for 10 new aircraft by 2029.

L3 is a leading provider of a broad range of communication and electronic systems and products used on military, homeland security and commercial platforms and a prime contractor in aerospace security and detection systems. L3 has worked closely with Gulfstream in the past, outfitting the company’s business jets for foreign governments. It’s currently teamed with Gulfstream in the pursuit of the recapitalization of the Air Force’s new Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System, known as JSTARS.

Shortly after the May announcement, both Boeing and Bombardier filed protests with the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office, claiming the selection of L3 was tantamount to choosing the Gulfstream G550 airframe.

Last week, the GOA denied both protests, effectively leaving the decision on a new airframe up to L3, which has said it hasn’t made a selection and will look at all possibilities.

Gulfstream officials declined to comment.

Comments