Thursday, July 3, 2008

Rumors on what DoD will do next

As Congress is out of session, and DoD takes its sweet time deciding what to do next on the tanker issue, we offer our readers the following rumors as to the options now on Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, John Young's desk:

A. Request Boeing and NG/EADS submit immediate new best and final offers under the original or only slightly revised RFP.

B. Have the Air Force make significant revisions to the RFP and rebid the contract. (Since this will take at least 1 year lead time to re-open the Joint Joint Capabilities Integration Development System process, this option seems unlikely.)

C. Execute both the Boeing and NG/EADS contract proposals as submitted under a potential "co-production" or "Leader/Follower" production strategy. (The details and the split in this split-buy were not clear.)

D. Fund "competitive prototyping" with each contractor under parallel System Development and Demonstration (SDD) over 18-month period with a winner take all fly-off for production much like the JSF. (This might be problematic if both competitors are funded at the same level since Boeing's proposal probably has higher SDD costs.)
Our sources in the Pentagon have been drastically attrited during the tanker war, but we have reason to believe in those we still have. So, we would ascribe that the above options are at least 80% accurate.

We have taken note that trying to force the current contract through against the GAO recommendation is not rumored to be on the table.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Letting the contract stand as awarded is the table.

Anonymous said...

Boeing should be awarded the KC-X Contract since Northrop/EADS didn't submit proper bid proposal meeting the RFP after being told by U.S. Air Force (twice).

ewaggin said...

If, in fact, these are the options that Young is considering, he has a very tenuous grasp on reality.

Based on the evidence submitted to the GAO, the Airbus tanker was ineligible for a contract award.

The Boeing tanker, on the other hand, met all of the requirements, and thus was eligible for a contract award.

Therefore, the contract must be awarded to Boeing.

If the AF wants to do the right thing, and reduce the amount of time to get the new tankers in service, they should cancel the Airbus contract immediately, and award the contract to Boeing.

The writing is on the wall: the Airbus tanker contract is dead. There will be no second bite at the apple for Airbus.

The options for Young are:
1) Kill the Airbus contract now and award the tanker contract to Boeing; or
2) Let the Congress or the US Court of Federal Claims kill the Airbus contract and award the tanker contract to Boeing.

Now that the cat is out of the bag regarding the ineligibility of the Airbus tanker, look for Payton and Young to be pounded on this issue at the Air and Land Subcommittee (HASC) hearing next week (7/10).

In order to preserve the integrity of the AF, it would behoove Young to take action prior to the hearing.

If he doesn't, the Congress may well give notice before the AF's 60 days are up that the Airbus tanker will not be funded.

If that doesn't happen, look for Boeing to file suit in the US Court of Federal Claims, asking that the tanker contract be awarded to them.

Anonymous said...

I think a competitive prototyping competition would be great. Soooooo how does 6 months sound? Will Boeing be able to move their boom from paper and get it on to an actual plane by then?

NG/EADS just finished their 100th test... 60 wet and dry contacts with an F-16 and tests with 5 other aircraft.

How can you avoid the fact that Boeing is late with Italy.... Finally delivered their tanker to Japan late and it's still not ready for use.... Not to mention that those tankers are different configurations than what they bid for the US! We'll be waiting forever for a Boeing tanker!

At least NG/EADS is showing some effort and they were prior to winning the competition. They showed they have the process down, they have a working boom and have pushed fuel through it and they have proven that EADS can push A330's out the door. Boeing sat back like this competition was a given and didn't say a word until they actually lost.

Lets end this already and let NG/EADS start delivering tankers. The RFP for the next fleet is just down the road, Boeing should be prepping for that round instead of stalling the delivery of these crucial tankers to the US.

Anonymous said...

We have taken note that trying to force the current contract through against the GAO recommendation is not rumored to be on the table.

All but the most partisan N-G supporters have long since realized that particular dog won't hunt.

Anonymous said...

A. Request Boeing and NG/EADS submit immediate new best and final offers under the original or only slightly revised RFP.

The outcome of that is a forgone conclusion. The original RFP was for a MEDIUM tanker. The only company that offered one of those was Boeing.

Anonymous said...

B. Have the Air Force make significant revisions to the RFP and rebid the contract. (Since this will take at least 1 year lead time to re-open the Joint Joint Capabilities Integration Development System process, this option seems unlikely.)

Actually, not that improbable. If they truly NEED a LARGE tanker with a lot of troop and pallet carrying capability, this is the only way they'll get one. Whether that one is an A330, a 777, a 350XWB, or a 787, is then the question.

If they are willing to spend the money on ensuring the KC-135 is maintained well, they can get a few extra years out of them above and beyond what they were already planning.

If the requiremnt for a new LARGE tanker is valid, it's what they ought to do because it's the only way they'll get one.

Anonymous said...

C. Execute both the Boeing and NG/EADS contract proposals as submitted under a potential "co-production" or "Leader/Follower" production strategy. (The details and the split in this split-buy were not clear.)


And the US taxpayer pays to develop production capacity for TWO different contractors and pays for the corresponding doubling of overhead expenses?

Have you seen what is in the FYDP for this program? They probably don't have the money they really need to do it efficiently. They damn sure don't have the money they need to do it with duplicated overhead expenses.

Anonymous said...

D. Fund "competitive prototyping" with each contractor under parallel System Development and Demonstration (SDD) over 18-month period with a winner take all fly-off for production much like the JSF. (This might be problematic if both competitors are funded at the same level since Boeing's proposal has high SDD costs.)

There is no way they can do this without first deciding if the RFP really means what is says or not. If it does, the A330 is not even competitive. If what they really want is a LARGE tanker, the 767 is not competitive. It all comes back to the original RFP.

I don't think anyone really doubts that both EADS and Boeing have the expertise to make their particular concepts of KC-X work, given enough time and money. The question is whether the MISSION calls for a MEDIUM tanker or a LARGE tanker.

It would probably be better for the USAF to make that determination before rather than after they prototype it.

The JSF analogy is flawed because the JSF concept was well defined. The whole problem here has been a shifting definition of what the Air Force wanted. The taxpayer can little afford to fund shot-in-the-dark prototypes because the USAF doesn't know for sure what it wants.

Anonymous said...

Reacted version of GAO report shows that Northrop/EADS team was not judge on the same requirements as Boeing and it is my belief that U.S. Air Force proposal team should be dismissed and Boeing awarded the contract because it meet the requirements as outline in KC-X RFP.

John S. said...

"(This might be problematic if both competitors are funded at the same level since Boeing's proposal has high SDD costs.)"

How can this be, when the "Dueling Tankers" paper claimed that Boeing's development costs were artificially inflated by the USAF?

wakeupamerican said...

Congress should investigate Mr Young and these General. Why they still want to buy airbus when they are not met all of the requirements?

Tanker War Blog said...

Dear Mr. John S.,

The GAO ruled that some development costs were improperly inflated, but we expect even when corrections are made, the KC-767 will have higher SDD costs.

The KC-30 team released that their SDD costs are about $1.5 billion. Boeing's SDD costs have not been released.

But, given what we know of differences in the two proposals, we are very confident in our educated guess that Boeing's SDD costs will be higher.

Sincerely,
Tanker War Blog

Anonymous said...

One of the Anonymous Blogger's wrote: "Boeing sat back like this competition was a given and didn't say a word until they actually lost."

My reading of the Redacted GAO Report is that, by procurement law, Boeing could not protest any earlier than it did -- after the contract award was officially announced. See the GAO report, starting on page 27.

Anonymous said...

groooannnn.... Sure wish some congresspersons and others would pay attention to the rules and regulations they put in place a long time ago.

1) Cannot consider "American " job issues
2) Cannot consider WTO/GATT issues
3) " Foreign content " is another non starter under various definitions of Foreign military - friendly - nation status and dAFFYnitions applicable

But more important - IF they stick to the basic KC135 range-fuel profile AND the airspeed issues required for " breakaway ", then Airbuss current model proposed will be a non- starter.

Which does not preven airbus from going to a ' smaller ' airplane ??? closer to 767 size ???

4) Of course BA needs to do better on their ' true cost ' numbers to avoid the evaluators from using that issue as a wedge to add or make a multiplier.

5) And it would be a great help if Boeing would QUIT pushing the unions to trash mcCain or blame the whole mess on him. That kind of backdoor "help" was a factor in the lease fiasco- but it appears BA has yet to learn its lesson. it is not impossible therefore to once again snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. A major house cleaning in the military side is long past due.