WASHINGTON–U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), a member of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, authored an op-ed for Military.com on the Army’s refusal to brief lawmakers on their decision to award the Future Long Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) contract to Bell Textron over Sikorsky. Murphy lays out Congress’ constitutionally mandated oversight responsibilities and debunks the Army’s justification for withholding information.

“The Black Hawk has served our nation with distinction but, after half a century, it’s rightfully time for the U.S. Army to modernize. That’s why in 2019 the service put out a call for proposals for the Future Long Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) program to replace the Black Hawk. Sikorsky designed the Defiant -- a nimble, advanced design of coaxial rotating blades, offering an unparalleled combination of price, maneuverability and range,” Murphy wrote.

Murphy continued: “Sikorsky had the better track record; the better product; and a much, much lower cost to taxpayers. So why on earth did the Army award the FLRAA contract to Bell Textron for the significantly more expensive, less reliable Valor V-280 tiltrotor aircraft?”

Murphy detailed his efforts to get answers from Army leadership:Over the past two months, members of Congress have repeatedly requested a briefing from Army officials to explain their decision. After denying our requests four separate times, we urged Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin to direct the Department of the Army to provide a briefing on how this contract was awarded. Finally, the Army offered us a call with a senior official. But instead of providing us with any substantive answers to our many questions, the service continued to stonewall our constitutionally mandated oversight responsibilities and misrepresent the Army’s clear statutory obligation to provide the requested information to members of Congress.”

Murphy concluded:Let’s be clear: The Army is not exempt from congressional oversight. The Founding Fathers explicitly grant Congress the power “to raise and support Armies,” and I intend to fulfill my constitutional obligation to do so. If the FLRAA procurement process was truly fair, the Army should have no issue explaining that to us. But the longer Army officials refuse oversight by the people’s elected representatives, then more questions are going to be raised about what they might be hiding.”

Read the full op-ed here.