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2020 U.S. Comp. Gen. LEXIS 129

Comptroller General of the United States

May 4, 2020




M3 Partners, LLC, of Greenville, South Carolina, protests the handling and evaluation of its unsolicited proposal by the Department of the Navy, Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR). M3 also asserts that the agency has improperly used the contents of M3's unsolicited proposal in a subsequent solicitation.

We deny the protest.


The protester's unsolicited proposal at issue here concerns certain systems on the UC-35C aircraft. The systems at issue are similar to systems on the Navy's UC-12W [*2]  aircraft. Both of these aircraft fall within the purview of the Navy's Lead Class Desk Engineer for PMA 207 Commercial Derivative Aircraft programs (hereinafter, the lead program engineer).

In responding to M3's allegations, the Navy's lead program engineer explains that the Navy took delivery of six UC-12W aircraft in June 2010. Aff. of Lead Engineer at P 4. These aircraft were "forward deploy[ed] to directly support the warfighter as a force multiplier." Shortly after delivery of the first UC-12W aircraft, the aircrew found that during operations the engine of the aircraft exceeded the maximum allowable Internal Turbine Temperature (ITT). Despite efforts to develop new procedures to avoid the problem, the aircraft engine continued to exceed maximum allowable temperatures. As a result, the agency was required to lease costly spare engines to keep aircraft operational. In 2011-2012, the Navy developed an engine aural tone warning system for its UC-12W aircraft that would provide an audible tone to the aircrew once engine temperatures or torque were approaching maximum allowable limits. Since installing the aural tone warning system in the UC-12W aircraft, the Navy has not needed spare [*3]  engines to support operations due to incidents where the aircraft's engine exceeded the maximum allowable ITT. Id.

In late 2019, the desk engineer for UC-35 aircraft approached the Navy's lead program engineer "to help review data and develop a [statement of work (SOW)] for a UC-35C aural tone generator system that would address aircraft over-speeds." Id. P 6. The lead program engineer explains that these discussions focused on lessons learned from the UC-12W project. Id. It was during this time period that M3 first submitted--in March, 2018--and then resubmitted, an unsolicited proposal to the Navy to prevent the UC-35C engines from exceeding their operating limits. See Protest, attach. A-A001, M3 Unsolicited Proposal. The Navy's rejection of that proposal has been the subject of two prior M3 Partners protests and two requests for reconsideration--all of which this Office has dismissed.

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2020 U.S. Comp. Gen. LEXIS 129 *

Matter of: M3 Partners, LLC


protester, unsolicited, aircraft, engine, tone, aural, proprietary