U.S. Navy’s $1 billion Global Hawk Choice for BAMS Protested
The U.S. Navy’s choice of Northrop Grumman to provide the Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS) platform, using a new version of the Global Hawk UAV designated RQ-4N, has prompted a protest from competitor Lockheed Martin. According to Lockheed Martin, its bid was less than Northrop Grumman’s $1.1 billion proposal. Lockheed bid the Mariner UAV based on the Predator B, in cooperation with General Atomics. A third bidder, Boeing, suggested an unmanned version of the Gulfstream G550. IAI Elta and Raytheon, respectively, were the radar providers on the unsuccessful bids. Northrop Grumman’s own Electronic Systems Division is providing the radar for the RQ-4N. Named the Multi-Function Active Sensor (MFAS), it features the world’s first three-panel rotating active array, according to Northrop Grumman’s Global Hawk business development director, Thomas Twomey. The first of 48-68 RQ-4Ns is due to fly in 2011 and enter service in 2014. There will be five operating bases worldwide. Australia is likely to adopt the RQ-4N and contribute to the System Design and Development (SDD) phase, Twomey said. The SDD contract cannot proceed until the U.S. Government Accountability Office evaluates Lockheed’s protest.