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“We recommend that the Air Force reopendiscussions with the offerors, obtain revised proposals, re-evaluatethe revised proposals and make a new source selection decision, consistent with our decision.”
The GAO sustained Boeing’s tanker protest on seven different criteria. Explained in English. Follow the link below.
1. The USAF used a different ruler than the one Boeing thought they were using.
TheAir Force, in making the award decision, did not assess the relativemerits of the proposals in accordance with the evaluation criteriaidentified in the solicitation, which provided for a relative order ofimportance for the various technical requirements. The agency also didnot take into account the fact that Boeing offered to satisfy morenon-mandatory technical “requirements” than Northrop Grumman, eventhough the solicitation expressly requested offerors to satisfy as manyof these technical “requirements” as possible.
2. The USAF said “no points for extra credit” then awarded extra credit points to Northrop.
TheAir Force’s use as a key discriminator that Northrop Grumman proposedto exceed a key performance parameter objective relating to aerialrefueling to a greater degree than Boeing violated the solicitation’sevaluation provision that “no consideration will be provided forexceeding [key performance parameter] objectives.”
3. Northrop Grumman didn’t adequately show that they could refuel all the Air Force’s fixed wing aircraft.
Theprotest record did not demonstrate the reasonableness of the AirForce’s determination that Northrop Grumman’s proposed aerial refuelingtanker could refuel all current Air Force fixed-wing tanker-compatiblereceiver aircraft in accordance with current Air Force procedures, asrequired by the solicitation.
4. The USAF toldBoeing they met a key requirement, but later decided they hadn’t fullymet it and didn’t tell them while still talking to Northrop about it.
TheAir Force conducted misleading and unequal discussions with Boeing, byinforming Boeing that it had fully satisfied a key performanceparameter objective relating to operational utility, but laterdetermined that Boeing had only partially met this objective, withoutadvising Boeing of this change in the agency’s assessment and whilecontinuing to conduct discussions with Northrop Grumman relating to itssatisfaction of the same key performance parameter objective.
5.The USAF interpreted Northrop’s refusal to meet a specific maintenancerequirement as an “administrative oversight” when it may not have been.
TheAir Force unreasonably determined that Northrop Grumman’s refusal toagree to a specific solicitation requirement that it plan and supportthe agency to achieve initial organic depot-level maintenance within 2years after delivery of the first full-rate production aircraft was an”administrative oversight,” and improperly made award, despite thisclear exception to a material solicitation requirement.
6.The USAF made errors in determining how much the tankers would costover their life and later admitted that the correct formula had giventhe advantage to Boeing.
The Air Force’sevaluation of military construction costs in calculating the offerors’most probable life cycle costs for their proposed aircraft wasunreasonable, where the agency during the protest conceded that it madea number of errors in evaluation that, when corrected, result in Boeingdisplacing Northrop Grumman as the offeror with the lowest mostprobable life cycle cost; where the evaluation did not account for theofferors’ specific proposals; and where the calculation of militaryconstruction costs based on a notional (hypothetical) plan was notreasonably supported.
7. The USAF used theirown metrics to estimate Boeing’s cost and also couldn’t prove thattheir estimates would produce reliable results.
TheAir Force improperly increased Boeing’s estimated non-recurringengineering costs in calculating that firm’s most probable life cyclecosts to account for risk associated with Boeing’s failure tosatisfactorily explain the basis for how it priced this cost element,where the agency had not found that the proposed costs for that elementwere unrealistically low. In addition, the Air Force’s use of asimulation model to determine Boeing’s probable non-recurringengineering costs was unreasonable, because the Air Force used as datainputs in the model the percentage of cost growth associated withweapons systems at an overall program level and there was no indicationthat these inputs would be a reliable predictor of anticipated growthin Boeing’s non-recurring engineering costs.