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By Nick Wakeman

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Nick Wakeman

CAE protests net $500M award for now

URS Federal Services has supported helicopter flight training for the Army at Fort Rucker since 1989, so the business put up a fight when CAE USA won the $468.6 million recompeted contract in December 2016.

The protest prompted the Army to withdraw the award and take a new look at its decision. Then in July, the Army awarded the contract a second time to CAE USA. And then URS filed a protest again. And again the Army took a corrective action to take a third look at the award decision.

This time however, URS prevailed and they won the contract to provide classroom training, simulator training and live flying instructor support. The contract runs for nine years. URS became part of AECOM in 2014.

But having won the contract twice, CAE USA isn’t about to walk away and now they’ve filed a bid protest of their own with the Government Accountability Office. GAO has until Jan. 2 to issue its decision.

So this contract is on track to be at least a year delayed after its original December 2016 award, possibly longer depending on the decision.

Meanwhile, the Army has issued a bridge contract to URS to continue providing the training through end of this month. The six-month bridge was worth $30.3 million, so it is likely that another bridge contract is in the works. If the Army follows a similar pattern, the bridge will be for three months with three one-month options.

When CAE first won the contract, the company said it would bring over about 300 people from URS. It also has subcontractors: Navigator Development Group and Cardinal Point.

While URS has served the Army helicopter training needs for going on 29 years, CAE has been stepping up its game. In 2016, CAE won a $186 million contract to support fixed win training. CAE also has a year-old facility in at Dothan Regional Airport in Alabama that features classrooms, flight simulators and other training technology. It also is working with the Canadian Royal Air Force, NATO and commercial airlines.

URS also claims to have trained more than 20,000 students from the Army, Air Force, NATO and 30 other U.S. allies.

So this is a fight between two heavy weights in the aviation training field. The slugfest continues.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Sep 25, 2017 at 9:31 AM

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