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Leonardo DRS awaiting word on C-130 contract

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Leonardo DRS, formerly known as DRS, is awaiting word on its bid to continue performing maintenance work on the Coast Guard's fleet of C-130 aircraft at Base Elizabeth City. The company's current contract expires on June 18.

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By William F. West
Staff Writer

Thursday, May 31, 2018

The aviation services contractor that maintains the Coast Guard’s fleet of C-130 aircraft at Base Elizabeth City is still awaiting word on whether its bid to continue the contract work will be approved by the Coast Guard.

Michael Mount, a spokesman for Leonardo DRS, confirmed Wednesday that his company is seeking a new contract to continue performing the C-130 work. Mount said Leonardo DRS’ current one-year contract with the Coast Guard, which has been extended four times, expires on June 18. Leonardo DRS expects the new contract will be awarded by then, he said.

In the meantime, Leonardo DRS has notified employees who work at the Coast Guard’s Heavy Maintenance Facility off Consolidated Road that their jobs could be affected by the Coast Guard’s decision. Because it employs more than 100 people, the Arlington, Va.-based firm is required under federal law to provide workers at least 60 days notice if a closing or mass layoff is anticipated.

Mount said Leonardo DRS employs a total of 138 workers at Base Elizabeth City. A portion of them are Leonard DRS workers, while others are contractors.

Mount described the notice to employees as a precaution. He noted there could be changes in the company’s workload leading up to the government’s awarding of the contract. There is also the possibility of a protest by a competitor after the contract is awarded.

“As we wait for the Coast Guard to announce the winning bid, our team remains steadfastly focused on their work and are committed to the success of our valued customer throughout the evaluation process,” Mount said.

Efforts to obtain additional information about the C-130 contract from Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, D.C., were unsuccessful Wednesday.

Elizabeth City officials are aware that Leonardo DRS’ current contract with the Coast Guard is expiring. City Manager Rich Olson said Wednesday he has been in contact with representatives of three other firms interested in securing the C-130 contract. Olson said the companies wanted to talk to local officials about their firms and how they support the communities where they now have facilities.

Leonardo DRS, previously known as DRS Technologies, has had a contract to overhaul and repair C-130s at Base Elizabeth City since 2010.

The last time Leonardo DRS’ C-130 contract at Base Elizabeth City expired, the company was forced to furlough at least 150 workers.

DRS had won a five-year contract in May 2013 worth an estimated $200 million to continue its work on C-130s. However, after a competitor to the contract lodged a protest, DRS was forced to furlough workers on June 17, 2013.

The General Accounting Office, which monitors and audits federal spending, upheld the competitor, TIMCO’s protest and recommended the Coast Guard review the contract decision, essentially telling the agency to rebid the work. The GAO gave the Coast Guard 65 days to announce a second decision.

In early November 2013, a TIMCO spokesman told The Daily Advance his company was no longer interested in performing the work. By the middle of that month, Congressman Walter Jones’ office reported that DRS had recalled at least 100 workers, apparently an indication DRS had been awarded the C-130 contract again.

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