The ongoing saga between Northrop Grumman/EADS, Boeing, the Air Force, Congress, and the Government Accountability Office (GAO) continues to languish on in the face of an aging tanker fleet. Northrop Grumman/EADS formally won the contract earlier this year -- the $35B contract would have given the Air Force 179 Airbus A330-based KC-45 aircraft to replace 531 KC-135 tankers.
Boeing filed an official protest of the deal with the GAO in early March and received redemption in mid-June when the GAO agreed that errors were made during the selection process. "We recommended that the Air Force reopen discussions ... obtain revised proposals, re-evaluate the revised proposals, and make a new source selection decision, consistent with our decision," said the GAO at the time.
It now appears that Boeing isn't quite satisfied with just having the competition reopened -- according to the Wall Street Journal, it now wants more time to design a suitable aircraft to meet the Air Force's needs or it is threatening to walk away from the competition altogether. Boeing now wants an additional six months to submit a proper bid that the Air Force would be willing to accept.
"I think the option we would have if we were not given the six months, there is a really high likelihood that we would no-bid the program," said Boeing defense unit head Jim Albaugh.
The Defense Department is already considering giving both Northrop Grumman/EADS and Boeing two additional months to submit new bids for the competition according to close sources, but Boeing's Albaugh said that is not enough. "This is an airplane that's going to be in the inventory 40 years. What we're asking for is an additional four months to have a meaningful competition."
For Boeing, the request for more time and the threat of a "no-bid" is somewhat of a payback to Northrop Grumman/EADS which performed a similar feat back in 2007. The maneuvering by Northrop Grumman/EADS forced the Air Force to make some changes to the requirements for the competition that put Boeing's entry at a disadvantage.
Boeing's current proposal is based around a 767-200 airframe -- it is simply too small and doesn't meet the fuel capacity requirements of the Air Force. Albaugh acknowledges that without the extra time to bid a larger version of the 767-200, it will lose the contract.
quote: Most monitored TV channels 19 , including public TV, devoted significant and favorable coverage to activities of the authorities. For example, four main TV channels broadcast live a 22-minute prime- time news item about a meeting of the President, cabinet ministers and regional officials in Kutaisi. Media coverage of appearances of the President, Government ministers and local government representatives at ceremonial events, often in the presence of UNM candidates introduced as such, indirectly benefited the UNM campaign. During the media monitoring of the last six weeks of the election campaign, public TV devoted similar proportions of its political and election prime-time news coverage to the United Opposition (18 per cent) and the UNM (17 percent). While the ruling party was given overwhelmingly positive coverage, the coverage of the main opposition bloc was mainly neutral. The biggest share, however, was devoted to the President and the Government (together 32 per cent) with an overwhelmingly positive tone
quote: The vote count was assessed less positively; some 22 per cent of IEOM observers assessed it as bad or very bad. A considerable number of PECs did not perform basic reconciliation procedures before opening the ballot boxes, such as counting and entering into the protocols the number of signatures on the voter lists or unused ballots. The mandatory mathematical consistency checks before and at the end of the actual count were frequently skipped. In one of three counts observed, voters’ choices were not announced aloud during the count. Determination of ballot validity was not always reasonable and consistent. Unauthorized persons were frequently present and at times participated in the process. IEOM observers reported three cases of outright falsification.