[Protests of Army Contract Award for Helmets]

B-278319,B-278319.2: Jan 15, 1998

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A firm protested an Army contract award for helmets with communication systems, contending that the: (1) method that the Army used to evaluate sound attenuation was not consistent with the purchase description and was unreasonable; (2) Army unreasonably evaluated the experience of the awardee's headset subcontractor, and placed too much significance on price in the downselection decision; and (3) Army's selection decision did not give technical performance significantly more weight than price or cost. GAO held that the Army's: (1) testing and evaluation of the helmet communications headsets for hearing protection was reasonable and consistent with the solicitation criteria, since the Army conducted its tests in accordance with the prescribed testing standards; (2) failure to reasonably evaluate one performance characteristic in downselecting among the contractors was not prejudicial to the protester, which proposed a significantly higher price, since the awardee's helmet was superior with regard to this performance characteristic; and (3) selection of a technically similar, but significantly lower bidder was reasonable since the best-value selection plan considered technical considerations and price to be of equal importance. Accordingly, the protests were denied.