Boeing spells out its tanker arguments

March 11, 2008 at 9:16 PM
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ST. LOUIS, March 11 (UPI) -- Boeing Tuesday release details of its GAO protest over the U.S. Air Force air tanker award to Northrop Grumman.

"Citing irregularities with the process of the competition and the evaluation of the competitors' bids, The Boeing Company 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," Boeing said in a statement.

"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 war fighter," 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. war fighters and taxpayers," McGraw said.

"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," the company said.

"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 over-sized tanker," McGraw said.

"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," he said.

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