C4iSR: Air

US Air Force awards L3 Technologies Compass Call replacement UCA

14 September 2017
The USAF has awarded L3 Technologies a UCA to replace its Lockheed Martin-BAE Systems EC-130H Compass Call special mission aircraft. Gulfstream will provide its 550 Airborne Early Warning (AEW) aircraft as the new platform. Source: US Air Force

Key Points

  • US Air Force awards UCA to L3 Technologies for Compass Call replacement programme
  • The service has previously faced numerous hurdles to awarding a contract action

The US Air Force (USAF) announced on 8 September that it had awarded L3 Technologies an undefinitised contract action (UCA) for the Compass Call replacement programme, according to a service spokesperson.

USAF spokesperson Ann Stefanek said that L3 chose the Gulfstream 550 Airborne Early Warning (AEW) aircraft as the new platform after sharing analysis with the USAF programme office. According to Stefanek, the new Compass Call platform has been designated EC-X.

UCAs are contract actions for which the contract terms, specifications, or price are not agreed upon before performance commences.

L3 spokesperson Jennifer Barton on 8 September deferred comment to the USAF; Stefanek declined further comment.

The USAF announcement follows a 6 September bid-protest decision by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to deny and dismiss, in part, protests from Boeing and Bombardier. Boeing spokesperson Caroline Hutchinson told Jane’s on 9 September that the company would not sue the USAF over the GAO decision.

The protesters argued that the proposed sole-source award to L3 would be improper for a number of reasons, including that it would provide for an improper sole-source contract award for the re-host aircraft at the direction of the government. According to GAO, Bombardier argued that the USAF effectively directed L3 to select Gulfstream for the award of a subcontract to provide the aircraft for the Compass Call re-host; GAO ruled that the decision to select an aircraft will occur under a proposed subcontract – therefore the terms of the subcontract competition, and the merits of the selection decision, are matters outside of GAO’s jurisdiction.

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