2008-03-16 - Boeing protests TankerBoeing Protests U.S. Air Force Tanker contract
Protest gegen Airbus-Tankerauftrag<br /> Citing irregularities with the process of the competition and the evaluation of the competitors' bids, Boeing has filed a formal protest with the Government Accountability Office (GAO), asking the agency to review the decision by the U.S. Air Force to award a contract to a team of Northrop Grumman and European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS) to replace aerial refueling tankers.
"Our analysis of the data presented by the Air Force shows that this competition was seriously flawed and resulted in the selection of the wrong airplane for the warfighter," said Mark McGraw, vice president and program manager, Boeing Tanker Programs. "We have fundamental concerns with the Air Force's evaluation, and we are exercising our right under the process for a GAO review of the decision to ensure that the process by which America's next refueling tanker is selected is fair and results in the best choice for the U.S. warfighters and taxpayers."
Following a thorough analysis of data presented at a March 7 debriefing on the decision, Boeing concluded that what began as an effort by the Air Force to run a fair, open and transparent competition evolved into a process replete with irregularities. These irregularities placed Boeing at a competitive disadvantage throughout this competition and even penalized Boeing for offering a commercial-derivative airplane with lower costs and risks and greater protection for troops. "It is clear that the original mission for these tankers -- that is, a medium-sized tanker where cargo and passenger transport was a secondary consideration -- became lost in the process, and the Air Force ended up with an oversized tanker," McGraw said. "As the requirements were changed to accommodate the bigger, less capable Airbus plane, evaluators arbitrarily discounted the significant strengths of the KC-767, compromising on operational capabilities, including the ability to refuel a more versatile array of aircraft such as the V-22 and even the survivability of the tanker during the most dangerous missions it will encounter."
The selection of Northrop Grummanto build the next-generation air-refueling tanker aircraft followed a fair competition and was based on the merits of the proposals submitted, a senior Defense Department official told reporters. Bryan Whitman, deputy assistant secretary for public affairs, said the challenges like the one filed yesterday by the Boeing Company are built into the acquisition process to ensure it complies with federal regulations.