Citing irregularities with the process of the competition and the evaluation of the competitors’ bids, The Boeing Company has filed a formal protest with the Government Accountability Office (GAO), asking the agency to review the decision by the U.S. Air Force to award a contract to a team of Northrop Grumman and European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS) to replace aerial refueling tankers.
“Our analysis of the data presented by the Air Force shows that this competition was seriously flawed and resulted in the selection of the wrong airplane for the warfighter,” said Mark McGraw, vice president and program manager, Boeing Tanker Programs. “We have fundamental concerns with the Air Force’s evaluation, and we are exercising our right under the process for a GAO review of the decision to ensure that the process by which America’s next refueling tanker is selected is fair and results in the best choice for the U.S. warfighters and taxpayers.”
Following a thorough analysis of data presented at a March 7 debriefing on the decision, Boeing concluded that what began as an effort by the Air Force to run a fair, open and transparent competition evolved into a process replete with irregularities. These irregularities placed Boeing at a competitive disadvantage throughout this competition and even penalized Boeing for offering a commercial-derivative airplane with lower costs and risks and greater protection for troops.