BAE protests Air Force's $511 million Cobra Dane radar award to Raytheon

By Rachel Cohen  / April 4, 2018

BAE Systems this week filed a bid protest with the Government Accountability Office, arguing it is better qualified than Raytheon to serve as the operations and sustainment contractor for the Air Force's Cobra Dane radar system.

"We believe our team submitted a very strong proposal, offering the best value, to address the operations, maintenance and sustainment needs outlined in the [request for proposals]," company spokesman Neil Franz said Wednesday. "We are seeking a favorable resolution in this protest, and look forward to adding to our 70-year legacy of servicing short-, medium- and long-range military radar systems."

BAE lodged the complaint April 2, and GAO has until July 11 to issue a ruling.

The phased-array radar at Eareckson Air Station, AK, helps detect North American missile threats and tracks and collects data on satellites and space debris.

Last month, Raytheon beat two other companies to win a $511 million Cobra Dane services contract that lasts through March 2025. Inside Defense previously reported the service planned to incorporate the Pentagon's Better Buying Power principles and streamline Cobra Dane operations and depot maintenance under one contract with the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center.

Raytheon has operated and maintained the early-warning radar for nearly four decades. Inside Defense reported in January the Air Force planned to raise Raytheon's existing contract ceiling to $177 million and extend work through the end of 2018 in order to upgrade the Cobra Dane system and transition to the follow-on contract.

An Air Force spokeswoman did not respond to questions Wednesday.