Northrop adds more sole-source UAV work

Northrop Grumman has won a $27.6 million contract modification to continue providing the Navy with operations and maintenance services supporting the use of the Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle as a surveillance tool.

And apparently it is the company that can do it.

The work supports the Broad Area Maritime Surveillance – Demonstrator Unmanned Aircraft System.

The modification is to a contract Northrop won last year as a sole source contract worth $67.7 million. Most of the work takes place at the Patuxent River Naval Air Station in Maryland but about 30 percent of the work will take place outside the United States, according to the Defense Department.

The contract was awarded as sole source because Northrop is the developer and manufacturer of the Global Hawk Block 10 aircraft and is the only source with the “knowledge, experience and technical expertise to continue maintenance and product support,” according to the Navy’s justification documents.

In 2011, the Air Force divested the Global Haw Block 10 with aircraft, sensors and spare parts transferring to the Navy. However, neither the Navy nor Air Force bought the technical data rights from Northrop Grumman. That information remains proprietary to Northrop Grumman.

In the 2012, justification document, the Navy said it needed to sole source the work to Northrop to meet mission requirements outside of the United States.

The document also says that the Navy will work with Northrop to determine what data the company is willing to sell to the government so it can hold competitions for the maintenance and operations work going forward.

The latest contract modification extends work under the contract through May 2014 and raises the total value to over $100 million, but there is no indication of any data rights moving from Northrop to the Navy.

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