The Pentagon today re-issued the Request for Proposal for the aerial tanker competition today.
As the press conference begins, here is a running synopsis:
- USAF plan and process as we go forward to have a week or so to discuss the details with Boeing and Northrop. Each side will have face-time to discuss details.
- A final RFP will be issued in a month. Proposals due by about October 1.
- From October 1 will evaluate proposals and have discussions with offerors, plus face time with each.
- Plan to have award by year end and debrief offerors in January.
- We’ve provided the offerors very clear and unambiguous insight into the relative order of importance of keep performance parameters (KPP) and provided a matrix to fully understand priorities.
- There are different ways to give consideration to extra credit for exceeding KPPs.
- The warfighter has said life cycle is 40 years (vs 25) so cost evaluation will be on 40 years.
- The key change to the RFP is to highlight and to make very clear the relative importance to each capability. We made sure we are going to evaluate in terms of fuel offload that we will recognize value of offload in excess of KPP.
- We will look at fuel cost, and cost of government ownership over 40 years.
- The Pentagon gives positive consideration for fuel offload above threshold, but it appears that not for cargo and troop capabilities above threshold.
- We are very measured and very specific to respond to GAO, but otherwise views the changes to be minor.
- The USAF is playing a significant role in new RFP, as are other services, comprised of all new members, along with an independent review team to review what the Source Selection team does.
- We won’t be using any models to determine 40-year life-cycle costs; we’ll use real cost analysis.
- Jobs and industrial base are not part of the RFP process but these are part of the overall plan to determine whether the industrial base exists to build the plane. But these are not part of the technical evaluation.
- In general, the way we’re evaluating life cycle cost in terms of importance is unchanged from one RFP to the other RFP. The acquisition cost is a separate issue.
End of conference.
Our immediate take:
Both sides got something in the rebid:
- Size gets extra credit for fuel offload, but because Northrop’s KC-30 has greater capability, this feature seems to favor Northrop.
- The life cycle cost is extended from 25 to 40 years, and this would seem to favor Boeing’s KC-767. We discussed both elements Tuesday in our Commentary on our Corporate Website.
It didn’t take long for Boeing’s advocates to look for bias, according to this CBS News report. They’ve been advocating including the 40 year life cycle but excluding the extra credit, a position we find just plain stupid. If you alter the RFP to allow one, then you need to allow the other.
The question is whether Boeing will protest the changes; officials said at Farnborough that they might because they felt any changes to the RFP should reset the process from scratch.
Here is the Draft RFP, Part 1. 27 pages.
Here is the Draft RFP Part 2. 96 pages.
Here is Northrop’s statement. (No response yet from Boeing.)
Here is a Seattle Times report, quoting a spokesman for US Rep. Norm Dicks (D-Boeing) already whining about the new RFP. No mention of the 40 year life cycle element by Dicks’ office, which he advocated.
Update, 4:10PM PDT: Washington State’s other Boeing advocates are quoted in this article and this one, all complaining about the extra credit for extra fueling capabilities. The hypocrisy is palpable. Some of them are behind legislation in the US House that would all but require an award to Boeing rather than the “fair” competition they advocate, and all seemed to favor changing the RFP to a 40-year life cycle on the assumption that this will guarantee a win for Boeing. Yet they object to the extra credit change. These politicians, and those from Kansas who rival Washington, aren’t remotely interested in competition and all their rhetoric to the contrary is political pablum.
This just in from Boeing:
Boeing has received the amended Request for Proposals (RFP) for the KC-X tanker competition. Given the very narrow window for commenting on this draft, our team is focused on identifying and understanding any changes that may have been made to the original requirements and evaluation criteria. We also need to see how the document addresses the strong concerns the Government Accountability Office identified in sustaining our protest.
Despite the fact that the first competition appropriately addressed the aircraft’s intended mission, until we receive the final RFP it is too early to offer any details about Boeing’s path forward.
Boeing remains committed to providing the most capable tanker to the warfighter and the best value for the American taxpayer.
No comment on whether Boeing will protest the DRFP.
Steve Trimble of Flight Global has a series of short items in his blog. Rather than linking each one, here’s the link to his home page–select the individual tanker items as you will.