The U.S. Navy awarded Vertex Aerospace, LLC (Vertex) a contract for $71,374,880 on March 2 for the base year for the Contractor Logistics and Maintenance Support (CLS) in support of the Advanced Helicopter Training System (AHTS) program, with six options for a total contract value of more than $471 million.
“The new Leonardo TH-73A helicopters are the cornerstone of AHTS, which is the planned replacement to address the capability and capacity gaps of the current aging TH-57 Sea Ranger helicopter training platform,” said Capt. Holly Shoger, Naval Undergraduate Flight Training Systems (PMA-273) program manager. “This contract ensures the US Navy can successfully maintain the TH-57 helicopters until the TH-73A is operational in the fleet. Vertex will ensure the US Navy has capacity to train several hundred aviation students per year at Naval Air Station (NAS) Whiting Field in Milton, Florida.”
The award comes following the Oct. 22, 2020 award to Vertex Aerospace, LLC., when a post-award protest was submitted to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) on Oct. 27, 2020.
While reviewing information to respond to the protest, the Government identified a matter which necessitated corrective action. The Government notified the GAO of its intent to take corrective action and the GAO subsequently dismissed the protest as academic on Nov. 13, 2020. The Government took corrective action by issuing an amendment and allowing offerors to submit revised proposals. Following its evaluation of the proposals, the Government awarded the contract to Vertex Aerospace, LLC on March 2.
The task order contract for CLS was awarded on a best-value tradeoff basis with a base and six options. CLS availability is scheduled to begin in calendar year 2021 and continue through calendar year 2027.
The procurement of this CLS includes logistics, maintenance and supply for both the TH-73A and the TH-57. The resultant task order award will provide services and materials necessary to provide aircraft maintenance and logistics aircraft support for both the TH-73A and the TH-57 platforms, to include: the repair of airframe and aircraft subsystems, including engines; maintenance/repair and logistics support of support equipment, as required; and maintaining records and reporting for aircraft and associated systems.
Using a combination of best industry and US Navy practices, AHTS will ensure Chief of Naval Air Training efficiently produces rotary wing aviators who are prepared for advanced rotary wing and intermediate tilt-rotor training and who will meet the challenges faced in the fleet through 2050.
In the meantime Leonardo Helicopters is on track to deliver its first, of 130 planned, TH-73A helicopter to Naval Air Station Whiting Field by the end of April 2021, with plans to deliver 31 more new helicopters by the end of the year.
“We are on track to deliver the first aircraft in April of this year, and deliveries will continue through 2024” William Hunt, the managing director of Leonardo Helicopters U.S. said in a pre-recorded press conference with Congressman Matt Gaetz. “We already have 10 air frames inside our production line, so we’re fully engaged in the program at this point, and we’ll be delivering 32 aircraft by the end of 2021.”
In January 2020 Leonardo, through AgustaWestland Philadelphia Corp., has been awarded a firm-fixed-price contract valued at USD 176,472,608 for the production and delivery of 32 TH-73A helicopters, initial spares, support and dedicated equipment, and specific pilot and maintenance training services. With a second contract valued at USD 171,000,000 the US Navy ordered more 36 TH-73A helicopter for a total of 68 helicopters.