WASHINGTON — BAE Systems is protesting the Army's decision to award Northrop Grumman a contract to build the Common Infrared Countermeasure system to protect aircraft from infrared-guided missiles.

"Following a careful review of the debrief received from the Army customer, we have identified some inconsistencies and have filed a protest with the U.S. Government Accountability Office to ensure a full and timely review of the award decision," according to a statement from BAE.

"We were disappointed to learn that we were unsuccessful in securing the [CIRCM] engineering and manufacturing development contract, as we believe that our proposal was the most technologically sound and cost-effective offering," the statement reads.

BAE filed its protest with GAO on Tuesday.Sept. 8.

Northrop Grumman was awarded a $35 million engineering and manufacturing development EMD contract at the end of August last month to build 21 sets of the system to replace BAE's legacy Advanced Threat Infrared Countermeasure system.

Both companies had been were developing offerings for the Army in a years-long competition.

CIRCM will defend against infrared missiles using a direct laser jamming capability when integrated with an entire suite of aircraft survivability equipment.

While the initial order is small, the entire program with the Army could be worth more than $3 billion, leaving the company not selected to build systems with much to lose down the road.

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