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RJO Succeeds In Disrupting Army’s Planned Sole Source Helicopter Purchase

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A lawsuit brought by RJO on behalf of helicopter company AgustaWestland North America, a subsidiary of Italian defense company Leonardo-Finmeccanica, has at least slowed, and perhaps halted, Army plans to undertake further sole source purchases of light utility helicopters from Airbus Helicopter, Inc. In a ruling on August 15, 2016, the Court of Federal Claims issued a preliminary injunction prohibiting the Army from further helicopter purchases at this time. The Court firmly rejected the Army’s attempt to justify an immediate sole source purchase of 16 helicopters for initial pilot training and suggested concern about the Army’s apparent standardization decision that could lead to its buying 97 more of the Airbus helicopters for training and light utility purposes. The Court gave the Army three choices: hold a competitive procurement; try again to justify a sole source purchase; or cancel the procurement. Several elements in the Court’s opinion suggest that the Army may have significant hurdles to overcome if it tries again to justify a sole source buy from AgustaWestland’s competitor. The RJO lawyers on this matter were Neil O’Donnell, Jeff Chiow , Dennis Callahan andLucas Hanback.

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