KC-X protest – Boeing building up steam

Boeing has just issued a “tanker factors” backgrounder [download file] giving its take on the US Air Force’s assessment of its KC-X tanker bid against the five evaluation criteria. It suggests Boeing is narrowing in on reasons for protesting the award of the contract to Northrop and Airbus. Basically it says:

Mission capability: Boeing’s bid had “significantly more strengths” than Northrop’s;

Proposal risk: Northrop/EADS’s plan to assemble and complete the A330 tanker in the US “should have been assessed greater risk”;

Past performance: Both were rated satisfactory, but revelant programmes for Airbus – Australia’s KC-30 tanker and the A400M – “are struggling”;

Cost/price: US Air Force adjustments to Boeing’s “significantly lower” cost estimate deprived it of the benefit of its in-line production approach;

Integrated fleet aerial refuelling assessment: Northrop developed the analytical model used by the USAF and changes to the model “before and after RFP release” allowed a larger aircraft to compete.

It’s getting very interesting…

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