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GAO Sustains Boeing Tanker Protest


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Congressional auditors have sustained a bid protest by Boeing over the U.S. Air Force's award to a Northrop Grumman-EADS team over the KC-45A aerial refueling tanker.

 

"Our review of the record led us to conclude that the Air Force had made a number of significant errors that could have affected the outcome of what was a close competition between Boeing and Northrop Grumman," the Government Accountability Office said. "We recommended that the Air Force reopen discussions with the offerors, obtain revised proposals, re-evaluate the revised proposals, and make a new source selection decision, consistent with our decision."

 

GAO also said its decision "should not be read to reflect a view as to the merits of the firms' respective aircraft."

 

Update: A three-page statement by GAO summarizing its decision is available here (pdf)

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Le ragioni dell'OK al ricorso

1. The Air Force, in making the award decision, did not assess the relative merits of the proposals in accordance with the evaluation criteria identified in the solicitation, which provided for a relative order of importance for the various technical requirements. The agency also did not take into account the fact that Boeing offered to satisfy more non-mandatory technical “requirements” than Northrop Grumman, even though the solicitation expressly requested offerors to satisfy as many of these technical “requirements” as possible.

 

2. The Air Force’s use as a key discriminator that Northrop Grumman proposed to exceed a key performance parameter objective relating to aerial refueling to a greater degree than Boeing violated the solicitation’s evaluation provision that “no consideration will be provided for exceeding [key performance parameter] objectives.”

 

3. The protest record did not demonstrate the reasonableness of the Air Force’s determination that Northrop Grumman’s proposed aerial refueling tanker could refuel all current Air Force fixed-wing tanker-compatible receiver aircraft in accordance with current Air Force procedures, as required by the solicitation.

 

4. The Air Force conducted misleading and unequal discussions with Boeing, by informing Boeing that it had fully satisfied a key performance parameter objective relating to operational utility, but later determined that Boeing had only partially met this objective, without advising Boeing of this change in the agency’s assessment and while continuing to conduct discussions with Northrop Grumman relating to its satisfaction of the same key performance parameter objective.

 

5. The Air Force unreasonably determined that Northrop Grumman’s refusal to agree to a specific solicitation requirement that it plan and support the agency to achieve initial organic depot-level maintenance within 2 years after delivery of the first full-rate production aircraft was an “administrative oversight,” and improperly made award, despite this clear exception to a material solicitation requirement.

 

6. The Air Force’s evaluation of military construction costs in calculating the offerors’ most probable life cycle costs for their proposed aircraft was unreasonable, where the agency during the protest conceded that it made a number of errors in evaluation that, when corrected, result in Boeing displacing Northrop Grumman as the offeror with the lowest most probable life cycle cost; where the evaluation did not account for the offerors’ specific proposals; and where the calculation of military construction costs based on a notional (hypothetical) plan was not reasonably supported.

 

7. The Air Force improperly increased Boeing’s estimated non-recurring engineering costs in calculating that firm’s most probable life cycle costs to account for risk associated with Boeing’s failure to satisfactorily explain the basis for how it priced this cost element, where the agency had not found that the proposed costs for that element were unrealistically low. In addition, the Air Force’s use of a simulation model to determine Boeing’s probable non-recurring engineering costs was unreasonable, because the Air Force used as data inputs in the model the percentage of cost growth associated with weapons systems at an overall program level and there was no indication that these inputs would be a reliable predictor of anticipated growth in Boeing’s non-recurring engineering costs.

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Una cosa che non ho capito: con Alenia Aeronavali che è fallita, avremo ancora compensazioni industriali in questo programma?

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Una cosa che non ho capito: con Alenia Aeronavali che è fallita, avremo ancora compensazioni industriali in questo programma?

Tecnicamente AleniaAeronavali non è fallita ma è in forte rosso causato dalla situazione economica mondiale (€uro forte) che ha fatto spostare buona parte delle trasformazioni aeree in altre zone. Alla luce di ciò, Finmeccanica ha deciso di convertire addetti e impianti ad Alenia (Capodichino e Brindisi) e AW e Sukoi (Tessera/Venezia) ma tieni presente che le maestranze e le capacità rimarrano la dove sono in primis per la manutenzione dei KC-767A italiani.

 

Per le compensazioni industriali è tutto da vedere perchè molto dipende dai contratti (faldoni di clausole più che altro) siglati a suo tempo.

 

Non escludo che Boieng tenti la stada del KC-777 nel caso venisse ripetuta la procedura. Precisiamo che il parere del GAO NON è vincolante e quindi USAF potrebbe pure procedere con il KC-45 strada non politicamente sostenibile e poi i nuovi vertici USAF sono appena stati nominati.

 

I rapporti Finmeccanica-Boeing sono abbastanza altalenanti, basti pensare che in questi mesi hanno in gioco

 

- Appena firmato l'accordo sul M346

- Maretta sul JCA/Spartan con Boeing che rinuncia e poi fa marcia indietro in meno di 2 giorni

- 777 con Boeing diventato socio in Global al 50-50 con Alenia al posto di Vought

- AW che tenta di fare le scarpe all'HH-47 con l'HH-71 (aka AW-101) nel CSAR-X (temo che i giochi siano già chiusi nuovamente visto che le RFP le hanno rifatte, bene stavolta, sul Chinook ma il cambio in USAF potrebbe riaprire la partita)

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