Lockheed backs off CANES protest

Company has second thoughts about its objections to the Navy's award to Northrop Grumman.

Lockheed Martin has withdrawn its protest of the Navy’s decision to award Northrop Grumman Corp. the Consolidated Afloat Networks Enterprise Services contract, worth up to $637.8 million.

Northrop and Lockheed were locked in a head-to-head competition for the work, and Northrop won the first contract. Known as CANES, the program is being used to outfit up to 54 ships with new computer networks. Eventually, the Navy wants new networks on 286 ships and 60-plus submarines. Other competitions will be held for work on those vessels.

Lockheed still thinks its bid was the “most affordable and capable solution for the Navy,” spokesman Keith Little said. “[But] after careful consideration of a number of factors, we determined the protest wasn't in the best interest of our customers, and therefore not in the best interest of Lockheed Martin.”

The company plans to compete for future work, Little said.

“We are pleased this matter has been resolved, and look forward to working with the Navy on next steps to get this crucial system quickly fielded to the warfighters,” said Northrop Grumman spokeswoman Sudi Bruni.

Lockheed withdrew its protest on March 6. With the protest pulled, work can now begin on the project.

The first task Northrop won is for $36.6 million and was to be completed by September under the original schedule. Options could continue the work through September 2013 and bring the total value to $637.8 million.