Lockheed cleared to start $2B South Pole project

Lockheed Martin Corp. has prevailed in a challenge to its winning a $2 billion contract to support the National Science Foundation’s Antarctica operations.

The company will provide support infrastructure to the U.S. Antarctic Program, which conducts research at the South Pole. 

CH2M Hill filed a protested in January with the Government Accountability Office, asking that its bid be reconsidered.

The company challenged on three grounds:

  • The evaluation rating given its technical proposal was not reasonable.
  • That NSF had discussions with Lockheed.
  • That Lockheed’s technical proposal didn’t merit picking Lockheed’s higher price tag.

The GAO denied all three claims.

On the discussion question, GAO ruled that the National Science Foundation only asked for a clarification so the contact did not qualify as a communication.

The oversight agency also found that the evaluation was “reasonable and consistent with the terms of the solicitation.”

On the question of picking Lockheed’s higher priced proposal, GAO found that NSF acted reasonably because Lockheed’s proposal had “significant technical advantages.”

Lockheed’s bid was $83.6 million higher than CH2M’s bid.

Under the contract, Lockheed will provide technical management and administration services; science and technical project services; IT and communications; infrastructure, operations and professional services; and transportation and logistics.

A CH2M spokesman said that the company was disappointed with the GAO decision, but that the “National Science Foundation has been and remains an important client for CH2M HILL through our science support, logistics, and technical project support activities.”

Lockheed Martin Corp., of Bethesda, Md., ranks No. 1 on Washington Technology's 2011 Top 100 list of the largest federal contractors. CH2M Hill. of Englewood, Colo., ranks No. 89 on the list.

About the Author

Nick Wakeman is the editor-in-chief of Washington Technology. Follow him on Twitter: @nick_wakeman.

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