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WASHINGTON — L3 Technologies has been given an unprecedented power to choose the U.S. Air Force’s next Compass Call airframe, in this case the Gulfstream G550. And if it turns out to have made the wrong choice, the company’s reputation will be on the line, the company’s top executive said Wednesday.
For the Compass Call crossdeck program, now termed EC-X, the Air Force decided on an unorthodox acquisition strategy: Hire a systems integrator to move the electronics off the existing EC-130H aircraft and into new airframes, which will be selected by that contractor instead of the service.
After multiple bid protests and accusations over a possible conflict of interest, the Air Force in September awarded L3 a contract for the Compass Call crossdeck program. And, as expected, L3 chose Gulfstream’s G550.
Michael Strianese, chairman and CEO of L3 Technologies, said the company has endeavored to be an “honest broker” during its dealings with Gulfstream and Boeing, which put forward the Boeing 737 as an alternative to the G550 offered by General Dynamics subsidiary Gulfstream.