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Friday, January 21, 2011

USAF Assesses New KC-10 Upgrade Bids

Contractors submitted revised proposals for the U.S. Air Force’s KC-10 CNS/ATM upgrade work this month after the service discovered it botched the first competitive round last year that resulted in a $216 million award going to Boeing.
Boeing was ordered to stop work on the contract in October owing to a mistake made by the Air Force in the original competition. Air Force Col. Michael Schmidt, contractor logistics support program director for the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center (where the contract is managed), acknowledged a “need for corrective action associated with the original source selection,” but has not specified the nature of the problem.
Industry sources have suggested there was a misunderstanding about whether a piece of equipment was to be furnished by the government during the original competition.
Competitors from the original round were invited to resubmit bids if they were deemed “in the competitive range,” though Air Force officials declined to identify how this status was determined , to maintain the integrity of the source selection.
Boeing has submitted a proposal, and the company is “confident that the solution we originally provided and our current solution is superior,” according to spokesman Scott Day. Meanwhile, the company is likely trying to keep as much of the team together as possible, despite the stop-work order.
A General Electric/L-3 Communications team also has submitted a new bid. Northrop Grumman, which participated in the original competition last year, opted not to submit this time .
Air Force officials say they intend to award the contract no later than June. Boeing won its contract for this work in June 2010.
The contract will cover two aircraft modified to support FAA certification and flight testing. Options will be included for the upgrade of all 59 KC-10 aircraft.
Air Force officials still intend to finish the installations by Sept. 30, 2015, to achieve full operational capability as originally planned, despite the year-long hiatus required to collect new bids.
The work must be done by then because restrictions will go into effect limiting aircraft with the old cockpit equipment to less-efficient air routes.

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