US GAO dismisses Raytheon JSTARS Recap protest – report

Joint STARS Recapitalization
Northrop Grumman’s JSTARS Recap offering is based on the Gulfstream G550. (Northrop Grumman)

The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) has reportedly dismissed a protest by Raytheon over its unsuccessful bid to provide the radar for the USAF’s JSTARS Recap program.

A report in Defense News says that, although not yet publicly announced by the USAF, Northrop Grumman was down-selected to provide the radar for the program ahead of rival Raytheon. Raytheon subsequently filed a protest with the GAO on November 20, which was dismissed on December 28. As of January 8 the GAO’s decision remained under protective order.

The JSTARS Recap is seeking to replace the USAF’s fleet of Boeing 707-300-based E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System aircraft with more efficient systems based on a large business jet airframe. The program is a two-phased one, with the radar being selected separately to the airframe.

Northrop Grumman and Raytheon had each bid on the radar phase, Raytheon with its new Archimedes radar and Northrop with an unknown radar type – while Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman are bidding the airframe phase with 737-700, Bombardier Global Express, and Gulfstream G550-based solutions respectively. A total of 17 new aircraft are required, and it is believed an airframe selection is yet to be made.

But the program remains under a cloud after the USAF baulked last year at the perceived requirement to replace the E-8C with a manned system, and the program is now under review.