Secretary of Defense Bob Gates canceled the KC-X solicitation. That means the next administration must start over from the beginning. The bidding teams can’t simply dust off their current proposals and re-submit. The US Air Force must instead go back to the drawing boarding and begin anew the solicitation process. If the previous round is any guide, this could take at least two to three years.
Here are a few of the questions I’ll be asking all the experts in the coming days, but everybody feel free to take a crack at them.
- Can Northrop Grumman and Boeing be reimbursed for the money they’ve spent so far to submit their proposals?
- Does this mean direct political interference in the acquisition process is here to stay?
- Will Boeing’s victorious allies in Congress sidetrack the solicitation process next year by simply inserting the funds to buy KC-767s, citing an urgent requirement to replace aged KC-135s?
- Will Northrop continue to pursue the contract with EADS North America, or will the Los Angeles-based prime decide that it’s not worth the trouble?
- Will a 2- to 3-year delay create an opening for Boeing to propose a KC-787?