More whining by NGS regarding the terms and conditions in the draft RFP. Their complaint now is that the Air Force wants it to be a Fixed Price contract. On the one hand I don't blame them; a Fixed Price contract puts all the budget risk on the contractor, on the other it is what is best for the Taxpayer. They have threatened (or renewed their threats) to No-Bid this competition in hopes that Congressmen sympathetic to their cause.
Since the Air Force is insisting on this being a Fixed Price they are simply asking for "Off the Shelf" or COTS of some kind. In most cases you take it as you see it and go; no added extras, no requirements creep and no fancy bells and whistles from what is offered. That is something hard for the Government to pass on. Our military likes its bells and whistles not the ones that Australia or Italy or Japan have installed (these are customers of the KC-30 for Airbus and two of the customers for the KC-767) so the government sets itself up for cost overruns if it can't keep its hands and feet out of the cookie jar. If they can live with what is offered, absolutely no changes to what is offered, then it is a win for the Taxpayer.
More Air Force obtuseness:
Start-up the NGS/EADS-Airbus Bitching/Moaning/Crying Machine! This little bit about how the Air Force will not (NOT) be making any substantial changes to the Draft RFP in their work up to the release of the Final RFP which is expected in January. So, all them complaints about the Draft looking like procurement for a smaller aircraft will be in the Final. Expect more crying from NGS.
Boeing thinks it can now pass the minimum fuel transfer rate through their Boom. The Boom they are bidding is being used on the KC-767 being delivered to Japan, it would only transfer 900 pounds per minute but the Air Force is demanding 1200 pounds per minute. This greater capacity is required to refuel the C-5 Galaxy aircraft which holds something like 50,000 gallons when its thirsty. So getting the gas into the C-5 is the metric and Boeing was struggling but they claim to have a fix and that their "new" flow rate meets or exceeds this so, good on them. Any more from Boeing, oh yeah.
Boeing had a meeting with Air Force officials to formally complain about the evaluation factors in the Draft RFP which they feel is "unfair". They especially are questioning the fact that there is no benefit for or value attributed to the aircraft with the better fuel-burn-to-fuel-transfer-rate which the smaller KC-767 would presumably have. Maybe it was something that the DOD left out of the RFP re-write but the only ones that really seem upset is the NGS/Airbus team. I think Boeing needed to go through the process of meeting with the Air Force and of course having something to complain about, you know keep up those appearances. Can't have this thing look likes it's in the bag for them.
EADS-Airbus can at least feel good about taking $247 million US taxpayer dollars back across the Atlantic with their win of their second LUH contract with the US Army. They are going to be building 45 more UH-72A Light helicopters for delivery in 2010. The Lakota aircraft are built in Columbus Mississippi and are used by the Army and the National Guard domestically for training, troop transport and medic-vac missions that UH-60 Blackhawks would otherwise be doing. The Lakota's free up the Blackhawks for use in the more unfriendly places of the world. This 45 aircraft order brings to 178 total UH-72's that have been ordered by the US Army of an expected 345 so EADS-Airbus is doing good here in the US. They also sold 6 of these aircraft to the US Navy Test Pilot school and expect to bid on the Army's Armed Scout helicopter competition using this same basic airframe, adding some sharp teeth to an otherwise good looking airframe.
BT: Jimmy T sends.