Air Force mixes up rival contractors' data

Nov. 21, 2010 at 2:48 PM
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WASHINGTON, Nov. 21 (UPI) -- The U.S. Air Force is admitting it sent evaluations of rival refueling plane bids to the wrong contractors.

The technical assessment of Boeing's bid for the $35 billion-dollar tanker deal went to EADS, and vice versa, Defense News reported.

"Earlier this month, there was a clerical error that resulted in limited amounts of identical source-selection information being provided to both KC-X offerors concerning their competitor's offer," Col. Les Kodlick said Friday. "Both offerors immediately recognized the error and contacted the Air Force contracting officers."

The error could threaten the 179-aircraft program, which had to be rebid after the Government Accountability Office ruled the Air Force improperly awarded the contract to EADS and Northrop Grumman.

Kodlick said the information inadvertently revealed is being evaluated and the Air Force is ensuring both firms get the same data.

Sources said each firm received the Integrated Fleet Aerial Refueling Assessments of the other's bid. The IFARA models tanker operations to determine how many tankers are needed.

Kodlick said the service also is trying to find out how the mistake occurred and to make sure it is not repeated.

Boeing and EADS executives alike said it seemed to be an honest mistake.

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