Get over it and move on (Part 2)

A flurry of activity has been happening on the air force tanker front while we’ve been in Geneva, Switzerland, (working, not playing). Unfortunately, we think the activity has all been rather sad.

In the aftermath of the World Trade Organization issuing its final report on the US Trade Representative complaint about illegal subsidies to Airbus, the anti-Airbus crowd has once again seized on this issue to attack the new reports that Airbus parent EADS is now likely to bid on the KC-X contract against Boeing’s KC767NewGen.

The final WTO report contained, it is believed, nothing different on the substance of the Interim Report that found Airbus did benefit improperly. Boeing supporters called this a clean win. Airbus says not so fast: Reimbursable Launch Investment (RLI in Airbus jargon, “launch aid” to everyone else) was found to be legal if done on commercial terms. While some launch aid was done on favorable terms, ie not commercial terms, and hence was illegal, now Airbus has a legal footprint to use launch aid for the A350 and future airplanes. This wasn’t what the USTR and Boeing had in mind when they filed the complaint against Airbus: they wanted launch aid ruled illegal, period. This is a huge loss for the USTR and Boeing.

From the start of the WTO case and the subsequent linkage to the tanker competition by Boeing and its supporters, we have warned this is dangerous ground to be on: Boeing will be found guilty if illegal subsidies, too, when the WTO issues its interim report in June—we are absolutely certain about this. Then the supporters of what was then Northrop Grumman and now is EADS will have solid ground to point to that ruling and say, in the old American cliché, “So’s your Old Man.”

What we find particularly unfortunate about the current subsidy campaign by Boeing supporters is that nobody is focusing on why they think the KC-767NG is better than the KC-30, and this is the real issue—and this should be the subject of the debate. It’s not about jobs. It’s not about WTO. The procurement laws don’t allow the Defense Department to take these into consideration. It’s about the merits of the products, at least from a DOD evaluation standpoint. All the rest of this is political gobbledegook. If this procurement is to be about politics (as it seems) and not about merits (what’s that?), then screw it: have Congress make the appropriation decision now and take all procurement selection on all programs out of the hands of the Pentagon. (With a twinge of sarcasm, given the Pentagon’s recent track record on this procurement and several others, this might not be a bad idea; Congress could almost hardly do worse [and there is a lot of sarcasm in this last statement.)

The issue raised by Boeing and its supporters over the prospect of a 90 day extension requested by EADS to get full briefings previously provided to Northrop is specious. This delay, these people say, is unfair to the warfighter and places them in harm’s way. (This latter is particularly shrill and unworthy.) We will remind everyone that a contract had been awarded in 2008 and Boeing protested, adding two years of delay to procurement. If the warfighters’ interest—and their safety were of paramount concern as those criticizing the 90-day extension now suggest—is important now, why wasn’t it in 2008? Northrop would be two years into the program by now had it not been for Boeing’s protest. So we fail to see how 90 days is relevant to what is going on now.

For those who now raise the issue of possible bribery by EADS elsewhere in the world, don’t forget that improprieties by the USAF and Boeing scotched the tanker deal in 2003, leading us to where we are today, and was guilty of trade secret theft when a Lockheed Martin employee took proprietary information with him when he went to work for Boeing. This is another specious issue.

Let’s get back to the merits of the competition: which airplane is better for the mission outlined by the RFP? In 2008, the USAF decided it wanted “more, more, more.” That was the KC-30. Today it looks like the Air Force wants “just” a tanker. This is the KC-767. The USAF is the customer and it has the right to decide what it wants. And if EADS wants to bid with this hanging out there, let it. As one Reader commented on the previous post, this will drive the price down for the taxpayer, and this is a good thing. It already has forced Boeing to come up with a more advanced KC-767 than offered to the USAF originally. This is a good thing.

EADS has a KC-30 in testing while the KC-767NG is a paper concept, just as the KC-767 Advanced Tanker in the 2008 competition was a paper concept. While Northrop devilishly and effectively derided the KC-767AT as a “Frankentanker,” and make no mistake about it, the KC-767NG is Frankentanker 2, the characterization is unfair to Boeing. The company has been mixing-and-matching airplane components for decades. The 737-based P8A Poseidon is mixes-and-matched major 737 components such as a fuselage from one sub-type with the wings from another. The 767-400 had a new, 777-based cockpit and different flaps and landing gear compared with the 767-300. The 747SP had a new vertical tail and different flaps from the 747-100. And so it goes.

But the fact is EADS can offer the USAF a real airplane while the KC-767NG is a conceptual airplane. This is something that ought to be evaluated fairly and objectively, without the sideshows of the WTO, o90-days and illicit bribes.

We previously posted a column, following the exit of Northrop, in which we told Europe to “Get over it and move on.” We have the same advice to those whining about the prospect of EADS entering the competition under its own banner: “Get over it and move on.”

33 Comments on “Get over it and move on (Part 2)

  1. Wishful thinking! This thing won’t be over until the first production KC-X rolls off the assembly line!

  2. Seems like the same rules are in play as were in the 2000 Florida recount. It’s in the interest of the party that is ahead to quickly consummate the deal. And it’s in the interest of the party that is behind to drag out the proceedings and work for a recount. They have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Morality and fairness do not enter the picture.

    And changing the subject.

    The GAO report that over turned the 2008 NG/EADS win indicated that the NG/EADS value proposition was to deliver an off the shelf tanker significantly sooner and for much less design development/modification cost than the Boeing offer. Minimum modification meant that many of the SRD requirements beyond range and payload would not be met.

    More, more, more was just the cover that USAF used to deflect attention from the fact that the stated selection criteria were not followed. The redacted source selection document indicated that NG/EADS non compliance to several requirements was glossed over to allow selection of the lower developmental cost option. Examples are; V-22 refueling, break away maneuver and plans for organic depot maintenance.

    The RFP did not indicate that requirements would be traded for SDD cost and schedule. Rather, the RFP indicated ownership costs over the life cycle and maximum compliance to the requirements would be emphasized.

    This disconnect was the main GAO finding – that USAF had unequal discussions with NG/EADS and Boeing. Boeing was not informed that the selection criteria had been changed to prioritize SDD cost and schedule. Additionally, it appeared that NG/EADS had received feedback that not meeting several critical requirements would not be viewed as grounds for disqualification.

    John Young repeatedly stated that the source selection decision boiled down to the fact that the NG/EADS offer was $2B less for SDD.

    If equal discussions had been held regarding the USAF’s change in selection emphasis, then Boeing would have likely offered a configuration closer to Japan or Italy which would have minimized the SDD cost and schedule of their offer.

    That competition would have been closer to the one we are (potentially) seeing now. Two offers meeting the bare minimum of technical requirements with development cost and schedule emphasized.

    • “The redacted source selection document indicated that NG/EADS non compliance to several requirements was glossed over to allow selection of the lower developmental cost option. Examples are; V-22 refueling, break away maneuver and plans for organic depot maintenance.”

      These are no example. That’s all.

      I read everywhere the claim a KC-30 couldn’t refuel a V-22 but I didn’t found any reliable source about that.

      I found several sources for landing speed and take of speed of an A330:
      Landing speed is about 150 kt.
      Takeoff between 186 and 215 kt (CAS)
      Normal cruise speed for an Osprey is about 240 kt.

      So can anybody explain to me why a KC-30 can’t refuel an Osprey? Well, NG said the KC-30 can.
      http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSN2431574920080324

      Due to the fly-by-wire concept the A330 can fly more stable at low speeds than a B767.

      The “break away maneuver” is something that could be solved very easily. Boeing should also offer certified speeds for the KC-767NG. What certified speeds did Boeing offer last time? I wasn’t able to find any source that stated a B767 could fly faster than A330.

      And about the “organic depot-level maintenance capability” you can read this within the GAO report: “The SSAC concluded that this was an ‘administrative documentation oversight’ because Northrop Grumman had promised to provide the required services and its “cost/schedule documentation is consistent with standing up depot capability within two years of delivery of the first full-rate production aircraft.”

  3. I do agree that it is unfortunate that the debat is not on the capabilities of the planes (and I am not talking about the size of the screen!)

    The US taxpayer & Air Force have a lot to win from a fair competition and from a split buy.

  4. A split buy isn’t what the Air Force wants… It wants a tanker, and as Scott correctly pointed out, the KC-767 seems to fit the bill nicely. In the end Boeing is going to get this contract and the American taxpayer and the USAF will benefit because this whole painful ordeal has at least produced the best 767 based design available.

    • 1: “and as … bill nicely”
      as Scot indicates, the latest RFP is clearly written to make sure the 767 would come out as “fitting quite nicely”
      looking at the last round, the AF does not have a strong preference to either technical solution (the exact opposite won last time around) – thus, again as the article indicates, the technical content of the RFP seems more politically than strategically driven.

      2: “In the … this contract”
      and how is this a good thing. how is it a good thing when in the land of capitalism the winner of a supposed to be fair competition is known beforehand.
      I think a fair competition between such dissimilar products is nigh impossible, but then why the pretense. Have a thorough review of the requirements of a future tanker, then have Boeing modify an airframe to match.

      3: “because this … the best”
      NG/EADS were not the cause of the lease deal breaking up (AF’s fault), or the last award being overturned (Boeing’s protests), and apparently the AF is not up the creek yet despite nearly a decade of delays. Why is it important to get this deal through this time?

      4: “best 767 … design available”
      Finally we agree. the question remains – is it good enough

  5. “4: “best 767 … design available”
    Finally we agree. the question remains – is it good enough”

    Yes. Both are fine aircraft, but the USAF wants a tanker, not a multirole transport. FBW doesn’t make one design superior over the other. In some cases, it’s a disadvantage, just as one example.

    ” 3: “because this … the best”
    NG/EADS were not the cause of the lease deal breaking up (AF’s fault), or the last award being overturned (Boeing’s protests), and apparently the AF is not up the creek yet despite nearly a decade of delays. Why is it important to get this deal through this time?”

    Because everyone agrees that the KC-135s are becoming much more difficult to maintain. Even at 12 airframes a year, it will be 2040 before all of the StratoTankers to be replaced. I didn’t say that, the Air Force did and they know much more about this then you or I ever could.

    “2: “In the … this contract”
    and how is this a good thing. how is it a good thing when in the land of capitalism the winner of a supposed to be fair competition is known beforehand.
    I think a fair competition between such dissimilar products is nigh impossible, but then why the pretense. Have a thorough review of the requirements of a future tanker, then have Boeing modify an airframe to match.”

    Gee, are the French having a “fair” competition? What about the Fatherland? Did Pratt and Whitney have a “fair” competition with regard to the A400M engine choice? Its laughable how those of you from the EU are criticizing America for producing its own defense equipment and crying fowl while not looking at your own “protectionism”. I don’t see any reason for America relying on it’s only aerospace company for it’s aviation requirements, especially when even the GAO found that both vendors aircraft could have easily won the last competition, a detail those of you KC-30 fans seem to overlook.

    #

    “1: “and as … bill nicely”
    as Scot indicates, the latest RFP is clearly written to make sure the 767 would come out as “fitting quite nicely”
    looking at the last round, the AF does not have a strong preference to either technical solution (the exact opposite won last time around) – thus, again as the article indicates, the technical content of the RFP seems more politically than strategically driven.”

    Again you pick and choose your points. Scott has also said the KC-767 was probably a better tanker. May I remind you that Boeing invented the boom system. Political? May I remind you that EADS picked a Republican, non-union stronghold. Even European analysts has called EADS one of the most political companies on the planet. There’s plenty of politics going around, not only in this case, but ever single defense contract and commercial contract, for that matter. The U.S. DoD doesn’t “owe” anything to the EU or any other political entity.

    I agree with Scott. Get over it and move on.

    • “Both are fine aircraft, but the USAF wants a tanker, not a multirole transport. FBW doesn’t make one design superior over the other. In some cases, it’s a disadvantage, just as one example.”

      Well the Air Mobility Commands (AMC) got something else in mind:
      “KC-X: THE NEXT MOBILITY PLATFORM – THE NEED FOR A FLEXIBLE TANKER”
      http://www.amc.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-070227-044.pdf

      Fly by wire is e.g. superior at low speeds to avoid stall while refueling helicopters.

      “Even at 12 airframes a year, it will be 2040 before all of the StratoTankers to be replaced.”

      Airbus is producing over 70 A330 a year. Air Force could replace the tankers much faster with an A330.

      “Did Pratt and Whitney have a “fair” competition with regard to the A400M engine choice?”

      That was a competition to develop an engine. Did the US ever paid for developments outside the US? Also another bidder lost. Would the US be “fair” enough to allow sells of A400M with Pratt & Whitney to every country the EU likes?

      “even the GAO found that both vendors aircraft could have easily won the last competition”

      The GAO did not look any closer at the merits of Boeing’s offer. Please read the GAO-report again. E.g. you can’t find any statement about how GAO assessed the breakaway capability of Boeing’s aircraft.

      • “The GAO did not look any closer at the merits of Boeing’s offer. Please read the GAO-report again. E.g. you can’t find any statement about how GAO assessed the breakaway capability of Boeing’s aircraft.”

        Nor did they look look at the breakaway capability of the KC-30. I did read the GAO report. Funny how people pay attention to the parts they want to read.

        “That was a competition to develop an engine. Did the US ever paid for developments outside the US? Also another bidder lost. Would the US be “fair” enough to allow sells of A400M with Pratt & Whitney to every country the EU likes?”

        Huh?

        “Well the Air Mobility Commands (AMC) got something else in mind:
        “KC-X: THE NEXT MOBILITY PLATFORM – THE NEED FOR A FLEXIBLE TANKER”
        http://www.amc.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-070227-044.pdf

        Both aircraft can be “flexible” in the respects that that report found important. I see nothing in that report that would favor one airframe over any other.

      • To be fair, Airbus is producing A330 at 70 a year but Boeing is producing 767 at 1 a month? – leaving much more room for a ramp up to get airframes ready for conversion…

    • “Gee, are the French having a “fair” competition? What about the Fatherland? Did Pratt and Whitney have a “fair” competition with regard to the A400M engine choice?”

      Joe, in the previous thread, I wrote this in regard to P&W and the A400M:

      P&W Canada couldn’t provide an engine free of IFARA restrictions as quite a few of the components would have been manufactured in the US. However, if Canada had joined the consortium and agreed to pay for its share of the total development costs (engine/airframe), P&W could have been the prime engine contractor.

      he A400M programme started originally as the Future International Military Airlifter (FIMA) group, initially set up in 1982 by Aerospatiale, BAE, Lockheed, and MBB to develop a replacement for the C-130 and C-160. However, Lockheed left the group in 1989 because of the uncertainty (at the time) over the timescale of US DoD requirements and the lack of US governmental participation.

      Military clean slate developmental programmes are usually paid for with the help of public funds. However, in contrast to the US, new cutting edge programmes in Europe are usually not competitively bid but rather developed as a joint undertaking between nations and companies. The work share of the A400M is split in accordance with each partner country’s share of the total 180 original orders. If the US had chosen to support Lockheed in the FIMA group, US companies (not only Lockhed) would have been eligible to participate in the A400M programme.

  6. Oh and one more point Uwe, since you seem to be such a “capitalist” I think you’ll welcome the fact that after the KC-767 NextGen is picked by the U.S. Air Force, it’s export potential will be greatly enhanced, and will provide an competent alternative to the KC-30 in future competitions. Good for everyone, no?

    • Well, you have two decision areas.
      functional and political.

      Italy (axis of the willing) and
      Japan (a very consistent US buyer) have decided on the 767.

      Australia and Britain (axis of the willing and no or low Airbus affiliation)
      have decided on the 330MRTT.
      India had (tentatively?) decided on the 330MRTT and reversed that decission
      in step with closer ties to the US ( asking for C-17 ). They currently feel “dateraped”
      and have asked Mr. Putin for stuff 😉

      My guess is that for technical and expenditure reasons the Airbus offering
      seems a better fit for all nations that are not in the “powerprojection at all cost”
      business. You want the tanker capability but utilisation is low. So you boost
      usage with the MRT component : medevac, cargo, trooptransport. Crew
      can accumulate flighthours, the airframes don’t rot on the ground,
      you don’t run into the “century old brand new airplane” trap.

      Thus and IMHO Airbus versus Boeing preference will continue to have a
      very large political element.
      Does one want the technical superior product or be close friends with the US 😉

  7. Breaking News:
    787 Dreamliner just passed 150% ultimate wing load test !

    This will assure Boeing customers that the 787 wing modification is valid and passengers do not have to worry about 787 airframe security.

  8. Uwe, You touch on the difference well. Some countries prefer and need a multipurpose plane. Others have a need for a refuleing (tanker) model.

    This should not be a vote for popularity which indicates the “superior” model. It simply discloses a range of choices which are filled by different countries in different ways.

    • how many single-use battleships are left, what is the main selling point of the F-35.
      Do you use different cars for commuting to work, picking up the kids and getting groceries.
      Both competitors are excellent refuelers, Both competitors offer multi-use.

      This argument boils down to: I like it better because it can do less…

      If you’d argue that you see no value in the additional capacity and improved flexibility of an A330 based offer, at least the argument would make sense – I don’t agree, but that’s besides the point.
      But saying prefering the 767 because it offers less flexibility and because it less suited to multi use is just dimm.

      I don’t mean this to be personal, where I wrote you, feel free to insert anyone else using the same arguments.

    • That may give you a hint which of both aircraft is the better tanker.

      “[…] better aerial refueling efficiency (more pounds of fuel offload per pound of fuel used) than Boeing’s[offer];”

      “The SSET calculated a fleet effectiveness value of 1.79 for the KC-767, and a higher (superior) value of 1.90 for the KC-30.”

      (Source: GAO report)

      • for the same absolute offload per sortie
        or some different definition ?

        1.79 / 1.9 is a 6% delta which would jibe with
        given efficiency numbers of the respective
        civil versions ( further up in the comments )
        probably depending on how this was evaluated:
        per sortie with same offload
        or
        or fixed amount of fuel delivered in
        a multi sortie mission.

  9. The KC-767 is “just a tanker” that can carry 19 pallets of cargo. Less cargo than the KC-45, but a lot more than the KC-135 can carry. At what point does the claim that the KC-767 is “just a tanker” move from an omission of a fact to an intentional effort to distort the facts?

    • Afair remember this is being pushed from the Boeing proponents 😉

      We only need/want a tanker and the 767 is
      more of a tanker because it is less of a cargo plane.

      • Addendum:
        And because you need clear cut differences it is
        thus best to ommit cargo capability at all.
        No Cargo ~= Best Tanker 😉 SCNR

    • Royce, it cannot take 19 pallets AND do the refuel mission. At least not at it’s MTOW.
      little known fact: the 767 requires additional fuel bladders to be installed to get the 200klbs fuel onboard (standard tanks hold a max ~ 160klbs) – like the KC-135. One of the reasont the 135 never gets used to haul cargo: it takes to much effort to remove the fuel bladders.

      It’s not that the KC-767 cannot do all the KC-330 can do, it just takes more effort.

  10. Ikkeman. I am not an aerospace expert nor am I dimm.

    From everything we have read and from all the comments posted, it is quite clear that both planes are good and could serve the purpose requested.

    When cost and efficiencies are weighed in there was a stated preference for a smaller model. There were many resons for this but the Client determined its criteria and it may well have to do with its present inventory and future plans.
    The USAF decided there was no value in the additional capacity and the need to augment its facilities to accomodate this size Tanker

    Why are you and others insistent that the client has chosen the wrong approach. You are not the Client and do not have the responsibilities of maintaining its fleet

  11. Okkeman: As a matter of fact, consumers do use different cars to pick up the kids, shop, commute, etc.

    Cost and safety has some bearing on their selection as well as cost of gas, tires and maintenance. Perhaps the size of their garage even plays a part.

    • BI: you’re a more wealthy then I if you can afford a fleet of different cars to do all the mundane tasks.

      And I’ll make the claim that whatever operational benefits you may get from using task optimised transportation – the total cost of ownership for the fleet is higher than that of a multi-use vehicle, whatever your mission mix.

      Yes, FEDEX uses a fleet of task optimised vehicles, but they use all vehicles at maximum utilisation rate – they don’t fly them only 350 hours/year.

      • I bought a Hyundai Atos to supplement our Subaru Libero Minibus
        for those travels were less than the complete family or large cargo is
        underway. ~ 2.5 liter less petrol and shorter traveltimes.
        For us that amounts to about 1800€ less money spent on fuel
        which is significantly more than the fixed cost the second car incurs.
        ( and reduces usage collisions 😉 .. YMMV.

        mentioned elsewhere: 767 less maintainace than a330:
        I really don’t think that an airframe one generation older is cheaper
        to maintain than the more current tech one ( even if the older one
        is slightly smaller and leaving out engines which probably will
        be current tech in both samples)

      • Hei Uwe, I forgot to mention that last excellent point of yours in the previous thread where I’ve posted a couple of responses to “John”. 🙂

  12. Earlier today French President Nicolas Sarkozo said:

    “If you say to me that the competition will be free and fair and transparent, then we say EADS will bid and we trust you,” he said.

    Obama followed up by reaffirming the U.S. commitment to a “free and fair” competition, adding that France’s “trust is justified.”

    Sounds like Sarkozy has moved on, and so has Obama. There will be no changes to the current RfP but EADS can have more time to submit a bid if they chose to bid.

    Earlier in the day from Aviation Week:

    Enders said that “we will not submit a dumping offer,” pointing out that the billion euros in cost overruns in the Airbus A400M program leaves the company less financial room to maneuver. But he hopes to negotiate a package with a U.S. defense electronics supplier that is more favorable than the Northrop Grumman proposal.

    So the question as Enders has put it, can EADS develop a package that is cost effective enough to compete. Mabye we should restrict the the conversation to Mr. Ender’s point. Some such as myself have said developing a cost effective package will be very difficult other’s have said it shouldn’t be and the A330 is already competitive in this contest. We’ll see in about 2 weeks what EADS thinks of their chances in this contest.

    My own opinion is that EADS would like to submit a bid just to establish itself as a prime in the US market. However, it may be difficult to convince a US partner to agree to do the work for too much less than NG. This is a very high risk contract and any US partner will want the promise of generous compensation to go along with the risks. My own feeling is that this will be the biggest stumbling block in assembling a bid, getting a major US contractor to sign on for a low or reasonable price as a major subcontractor.

  13. There are only a handful of US contractors who are capable of signing on as a major subcontractor at a low or reasonable price and few, if any, would wish to take the risk in this controversial selection process.

    I can understand EADS wanting to establsih itself as a prime bidder in the US market but won’t that take a substantial amount of resources just to organize and submit the response to the RFP.

    It seems to me that EADS will accumulate as much political capital as it can and use that in the RFP to follow for the replacement of the multiuse freighter that will follow the Tanker selection process. The A330 is well suited for that contest and would stand a good chance of winning

  14. Pingback: DOD to EADS: You’ve got 60 days « Leeham News and Comment

  15. Ikkeman: Like Ewe, a large number of families require two cars…not a fleet.

    The selection of the models are made for strategic and economic reasons.

    If you wish to refer to the Fedex model as analagous to the USAF fleet, I have to defer to the USAF in choosing the model that they think will optimize their mission effectiveness.

    Secretary of Defense Gates has insisted that the RFP reflects their needs and has added that in the face of all discussions and suggestions, the present RFP will remain unchanged and reflects the wishes of the Client.

    You are now telling the Client that you and others have a better way of organizing the fleet.

    • Hi BA Investor, the point that most people overlook is that Secretary of Defense Gates was the man in charge of the last go around. Did he merely change his mind about what was required? Or was there some major event which caused the Pentagon to totally revise the RFP from what they wanted a short 2 years ago?

      Considering the first replacement tanker will not be delivered for at least another 2 years, the seeming inability of the Pentagon to be able to decide what it requires should cause most Americans to be very nervous about what their Air Force leadership is doing and should be questioning their ability to do so. This goes right up to Mr. Gates himself. From some comments I have read here and in other places, some Americans are.
      This change in the RFP from 2 years ago, with seemingly no good reason (or is it all just politics), is what has frustrated EADS and the EU. To defend this RFP by saying the customer knows what he wants is rather specious, as this drastic change from the last RFP seems to indicate just the opposite.
      If you are willing to openly admit that it is politics (of a type which flirts with protectionism), I will admit that EADS should just quit gracefully and let Boeing have this contract.

  16. Schaggee: From what we understand, the prior RFP evaluation process was determined not to be fair. Benefits were awarded to Northrop based on discussions and criteria that Boeing claimed they were not informed of. This influenced the selection of a larger multiuse plane.

    So, it was not that the USAF changed its mind. It is that the evaluation process was skewed and had not been equally understood by the bidding contractors responding to the RFP.

    Therefore, it was determinded to correct the process and make it work in a way that was more transparent and clearer in its evaluation criteria.

    The emphasis here is not that the Client changed its mind, it is that the measuring process was determinative and that process weighed criteria that valued a larger plane. Had both contractors understood this from the beginning, the contest may have resulted in different submissions.

    Now, it has been claimed that this is all technical nonsense and is riddled with politics. To that isssue there are many responses. The point being made is that what the client wanted and spelled out was not clear enough to sustain the award and the protest process was upheld after lengthy consideration.

    This RFP is an attempt to settle the matter and define with greater clarity what the USAF is asking for.

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