As if there wasn’t enough information, disinformation and misinformation already circulating about the KC-X tanker competition, now the pro-Boeing, anti-EADS tankerblog.com is trying to dirty the water. Claiming to provide “facts and commentary” on the tanker issue, so far it has offered up little other than tired innuendo. At least the authors make clear their anti-EADS stance.
If you want real information, check out Amy Butler’s latest report for Aviation Week. She focuses on concerns with the analytical model used by the USAF to evaluate the refuelling effectivess of the rival tankers. I suspect the role this Northrop-developed modelling tool played in the contest could be the pivot on which Boeing’s KC-X protest is balanced.
Boeing has said the USAF made changes to the analytical model before and after release of the final KC-X RFP to allow Northrop’s larger A330-based tanker to compete. Amy has obtained a copy of a letter Boeing sent to the US Air Force in March 2007 raising concerns about its use of a Northrop-developed tool, the company’s difficulties in using the model, and the USAF’s changes to key assumptions used in the evaluation scenarios.
I suspect the success of Boeing’s protest could hinge on whether the GAO believes the USAF inappropriately used the Northrop-developed model, improperly changed its parameters, or inadequately communicated the changes and their intent to the bidders.