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Thu, Oct 02, 2008

Court Says USAF Erred In Awarding KC-135 Maintenance Contract To Boeing

Yep... Yet Another USAF/Boeing Tanker Mess. Get The Popcorn.

Between the following news item and the neverending KC-X contract fight... we're betting more than few people at Boeing regret ever hearing the word "tanker."

Alabama Aircraft Industries, Inc. announced this week its AAI-Birmingham subsidiary has won its case before the US Court of Federal Claims against the US Air Force and Boeing, which challenged the Air Force’s selection of Boeing for a $1.1 billion contract to perform maintenance services on KC-135 aircraft.

As ANN reported, AAI filed suit against both parties this summer, alleging the USAF improperly awarded Boeing a $1.1 billion maintenance contract to service the aging fleet of KC-135 Stratotanker aerial refueling planes.

Government regulators twice sided with AAI in its protest of the contract, but denied the company's third protest in June, spurring the lawsuit. Alabama Aircraft alleged the Air Force, "...failed to take appropriate corrective action in response to the GAO's December 27 and February 1 decisions" for the KC-135 tanker maintenance contract.

AAII says that in its ruling, the court set aside the contract award, stopping the Air Force from proceeding with the award to Boeing. "The Air Force must resolicit the procurement and take the necessary steps in a new solicitation to address explicitly the role of an ever-aging KC-135 fleet on the PDM to be performed," the ruling states.

"We could not be more pleased that the Court has given this matter a thorough and fair hearing, as we have requested from the beginning," said Ron Aramini, President and Chief Executive Officer of Alabama Aircraft Industries, Inc. "The deficiencies in the award obviously have been recognized and finally addressed, with the potential to restore integrity to the procurement process for the KC-135 PDM. We look forward to working with the United States Air Force and participating in the new KC-135 competition."

The KC-135 Stratotanker is currently the oldest airframe still in use by the Air Force. Boeing delivered the first KC-135 in June of 1957... and the last one was delivered to the Air Force in 1965, making the average KC-135 airframe nearly 50 years old.

The KC-135 is slated to remain a part of the fleet through 2040, thus requiring ongoing maintenance contracted services.

FMI:  www.alabamaaircraft.com, www.gao.gov, www.af.mil

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