Update, April 1, 0800PDT: Boeing just issued this statement in response to the DOD announcement yesterday:
ST. LOUIS, April 1, 2010 – The U.S. Department of Defense on March 31 said it will extend the deadline to receive proposals in the U.S. Air Force KC-X Tanker competition from May 10 to July 9 if European Aeronautic Defence and Space (EADS) makes a formal request for an extension. The Boeing Company today responded with the following statement:
“We are deeply disappointed with EADS-Airbus efforts to further delay this vital warfighting program and tilt the U.S. procurement process in its favor. EADS-Airbus has been fully engaged in the competition for four years and was always expected to provide the vast majority of its team’s work content.
“We welcome the denial of EADS’s repeated requests to alter U.S. warfighting requirements, and we support the Air Force’s stated intent to provide a level playing field for qualified competitors. We do not see a legitimate reason for EADS’s bid deadline extension request, and we believe an extension that favors any individual competitor does not further the goal of ensuring fair competition.
“Boeing remains fully prepared to submit a competitive proposal by the May 10 deadline originally set by the Air Force. However, this latest development, along with the World Trade Organization’s recent final ruling that Airbus has been heavily and illegally subsidized for decades, requires Boeing to review all of our options for going forward while we wait for a final determination on a deadline extension.”
DOD just announced that it will extend the deadline from May 10 for 60 days to July 9 in order to give EADS the opportunity to submit a bid for the KC-X contract. This is contingent upon EADS notifying the Pentagon of its intent to bid.
EADS hoped for 90 days.
The Pentagon will compress its evaluation schedule to stay on its delivery date timeline for an early-fall contract award. No changes will be made in the RFP. The Pentagon also rejected questions whether political interference was involved.
Boeing supporters were already opposing the 90 days, so we expect they will also oppose the 60 days. Our thoughts about this opposition are contained in this previous post. We find the commentary by the supporters overblown, considering these very same people raised no objection to Boeing’s protest of the 2008 contract award and the delay (which has turned out to be two years) resulting from that. An additional 60 days is inconsequential in a process that began in 2002. DOD’s intent to compress the evaluation schedule in order to stick with its contract award should, but probably won’t mollify the Boeing supporters.
EADS spokesman Guy Hicks issued this statement:
“Since the Department of Defense indicated their interest in EADS’ participation as prime contractor in the KC-X tanker competition, the company has carefully assessed the many requirements necessary to participate. We have firmly indicated that a 90 day extension would be the minimum time necessary to prepare a responsible proposal for this $40 billion program. We will consider the Department’s decision to offer a 60 day extension.”