Wed, Nov 21, 2007
Boeing, Northrop/EADS To Make Their Cases
On Tuesday, US Air Force officials extended invitations to
Boeing and Northrop Grumman, to make their cases for the $40
billion KC-X aerial tanker contract.
USAF acquisition chief Sue Payton told Reuters a team of 150
officials is working to determine which aircraft -- Boeing's
KC-767, or the Northrop/EADS KC-30 -- best suits the service's
needs. That team has submitted over 500 engineering notices to the
two companies, asking for clarifications or notifying the companies
of perceived weaknesses.
In the interest of transparency -- and to head off the faintest
hint of the kind of improprieties that tanked Boeing's original KC-X win in
2004 -- the Air Force also wants to spend a day with
each competitor, to address concerns and answer questions.
"They will be invited in for one of those interim discussions
where we spend a day with the offerers ... and we tell them exactly
where they've improved their weaknesses, where we find them to have
strengths and where we still find them to have weaknesses," Payton
The meetings would take place after Thanksgiving. Both companies
are expected to submit final bids in December, or early January; a
decision by the Air Force is expected in February, about a month
later than originally planned.
"There is a price to pay for openness and transparency, and that
is time," Payton said. "I think we're looking more into the
February timeframe [for a decision]. We're working it real
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