Northrop Grumman may decide this week or next what it will do about the bid for the USAF KC-X Final Request for Proposal, Leeham.net understands.
Northrop has said frequently and clearly that it may not bid because it believes the FRFP is skewed toward Boeing’s KC-767, and we are satisfied this is no idle threat. But we also believe that while the odds, as things stand today, are that Northrop won’t bid, don’t consider this a sure thing.
We have reason to believe that there are still strong factions within the Northrop-EADS teams who support going forward with a bid.
There are equally strong factions who believe that a protest to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) that the RFP is unfair.
GAO procedure provides that a bidder has 10 days from its determination that there are valid reasons to protest the RFP to file the protest. A protest may also be filed with the issuing agency but this is largely considered futile to protest to the agency that issued an RFP that is believed to be faulty.
While to focus has been on Northrop, Boeing is disappointed the Air Force did not take into account the WTO interim report finding Airbus illegally benefied from subsidies for the A330, on which the Northrop KC-30 is based. A Boeing protest is considered unlikely.