U.S. Army Selects ViaSat for Blue Force Tracking 2 Contract

[Satellite TODAY 07-22-10] The U.S. Army selected ViaSat as the winner of the Blue Force Tracking 2 (BFT-2) program contract over Comtech Mobile Datacom, the competitors announced in separate statements issued July 21.
    ViaSat said it was awarded $477 million under the BFT-2 indefinite-delivery, indefinite contract and received the first delivery order for $37.7 million to fund deliveries of first article and initial production terminals and other ground networking equipment. ViaSat’s BFT-2 system is derived from its ArcLight mobile satcom technology, which uses VSAT antennas to provide broadband communications-on-the-move voice, video and services.
    Comtech, the proprietary owner of the BFT waveform, offered the Army its BFT-HC terminal, which is compatible with BFT legacy systems. Comtech’s said it was notified by the Army that it was not selected as the program manager and vendor and that an award was made to ViaSat based on a total evaluated price of $249.9 million — about 50 percent lower than the total evaluated price of Comtech’s BFT-2 proposal
     The Army’s decision surprised Raymond James analyst Chris Quilty, who told Satellite News July 21 that he was “98 percent sure” Comtech would win the award based on the Army’s frequent BFT and MTS contract ceiling increases with the company. After the contract award was announced, Quilty told Satellite TODAY he could not explain the difference between Comtech’s and ViaSat’s statements. “Obviously, investors see this development as a shock. I am still trying to determine the difference between the two numbers. The $249.9 million figure, stated by Comtech, implies that the BFT-2 program will spend an average of approximately $41.7 million per year on BFT-2 services and hardware based on a six-year anticipated rollout.”
    Neither the Army nor the BFT-2 development competitors could be reached for immediate comment, but Comtech CEO Fred Kornberg said his company plans to file an appeal with the U.S. Government Accountability Office. “Given our proven performance during a war-time environment, the performance capability of our BFT-HC transceiver and our belief that Comtech offers a lower overall program risk to the U.S Army as well as other factors, we anticipate protesting the award given to the third party,” he said in a statement.

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