Fall-out from Druyun corruption case reaches SDB contract, with competition set to be rerun
US Air Force officials last week re-opened discussions with industry on a bomb contract worth nearly $500 million that could be stripped from Boeing.
However, redefining the scope of a second programme is expected to take several more months.
The Air Armament Center (AAC) at Eglin AFB, Florida, staged an industry day on 19 February, attempting to gauge interest in a potential rerun of all or part of the Small Diameter Bomb (SDB) Increment 2 contract competition, Judy Stokley, AAC commander, told Flight International.
Boeing's status as prime for the Increment 2 effort has been under question since last October, when the USAF's former number two acquisition official Darleen Druyun admitted she illegally awarded the SDB and other major contracts to Boeing as "gifts" before her employment at the company.
Druyun's corruption was verified in February by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the investigative arm of Congress. The GAO ruled that Lockheed Martin lost the competition after Druyun intervened, improving Boeing's competitive position by postponing a requirement for a capability against moving targets.
The USAF quickly agreed with the GAO's recommendation to rerun all or part of the Increment 2 contract.
The project now faces a delay of several months. The USAF senior civilian leadership has left the service en masse in recent months, prompting the office of the secretary of defence to assume decision authority for most major USAF acquisition programmes, including SDB.
The new leadership has not yet moved to clarify the SDB Increment 2's acquisition strategy, and no decision is expected to come for several months, says Stokley.
The Pentagon has the option of putting the full Increment 2 capability out for competiton again, or only pieces of it, such as only the guidance and control package of a wingkit and a datalink.
STEPHEN TRIMBLE/WASHINGTON DC
Source: Flight International