Westinghouse protests Raytheon radar contract

October 03, 1992|By Ted Shelsby | Ted Shelsby,Staff Writer

Claiming its bid was nearly 40 percent lower than the winning one, the local Westinghouse division is protesting the Army's recent award of a major radar contract to Raytheon Corp. in Lexington, Mass.

The pact being disputed is for a ground-based radar used with a missile defense system similar to the Patriot. It is considered one of the few major radar contracts coming out of the Pentagon in the foreseeable future as military spending declines.

Although the initial Raytheon award from the Army's Space and Strategic Defense Command totaled $614.7 million, the contract is expected to lead to billions of dollars in new business over the next decade. The first contract was for only five radar units.

The new radar is to be used with the THAAD (Theater High Altitude Area Defense) missile. Its job is to detect incoming missiles, such as Scuds, then guide the THAAD to an interception.

The missile is being designed to protect a much wider area than the Patriot, which was originally developed as an anti-aircraft weapon. THAAD was developed to intercept missiles at higher altitudes and farther from their targets than the Patriot.

The loss of the award was considered a significant setback for the Westinghouse Electronic Systems Group in Linthicum. Westinghouse was counting on the radar contract to help stabilize its approximately 12,500-person employment base in the state for years to come.

In response to questions about its protest, filed with the Government Accounting Office (GAO), Westinghouse released ........TC two-sentence statement noting that its bid was approximately $250 million lower than Raytheon's.

C. Douglas McArthur, an attorney at the GAO, said that in the protest, Westinghouse was "essentially saying its bid was lower and its approach was better."

Ed Vaughn, a spokesman for the Army's Global Protection Against Limited Strikes office in Huntsville, Ala., said the organization, which manages THAAD and its radar programs, was in the process of preparing a report on the contract for the GAO.

"Our initial assessment is the protest will not be successful," Mr. Vaughn said without elaborating. He said the Army has issued a stop-work order on the radar contract until the GAO issues an opinion, which is expected within 90 days of the Sept. 24 protest action.

Raytheon spokesman Edward Powers said the company did not wish to respond to the Westinghouse action.

In an unrelated development, Westinghouse has found itself on the other side of a similar protest. General Electric Co.'s Ocean & Radar Systems Division in Syracuse, N.Y., is protesting the Navy's award last month of a $143 million contract to a Westinghouse plant in Sykesville for production of anti-submarine warfare equipment.

Spokeswoman Karen Purdy said General Electric is questioning the pricing and evaluation process that the Navy used in awarding the contract to Westinghouse.

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