16 March 2008

So the protest goes in - Now what?

Boeing - playing sore looser - has filed a a formal protest against the award of the Boeing Tanker contract to Northrup Grumman based on Airbus's A330.

Automatically the review will be conducted by the GAO. It has 100 days to review and then a possible further round could add another 100 days to the protest. This is highly likely given that Boeing will likely protest again unless of course they win in which case Northrup will likely protest.

In the mean time the Air Force has to put up with an ageing fleet of Tankers whose average age is now 40 years plus. Kudos to Boeing for building a product that has been so successful.

As a US taxpayer, I am loathe to see this process go further. We all want to see the USAF get its new tankers and for the rest of the world to get on with it.

My wish? Boeing to cooperate with NG and become a contractor to the project. NG could definitely do with some help. Airbus has a significant hill to climb with some of its other projects.

Lets hope the USAF got their numbers and criteria right in the award. If not then we should all feel concerned that the procurement process for US military is (as I believe) deeply flawed. This should be a priority to review for the next US Administration.



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