It now appears the USAF will announce the tanker contract Thursday, Feb. 24, at 5pm EST. Expectations are that EADS will be awarded the contract, but there have been so many twists and turns that we’re not predicting the outcome.
The greater question will be, Will there be a protest? As we reported Monday, EADS says it won’t protest if it loses provided there is nothing egregious in the selection process. Boeing has clearly been laying the groundwork for a protest, but neither is it certain Boeing will do so if it loses.
Here is the timeline of what happens next:
- The announcement is made.
- The Department of the Air Force has 10 calendar days to brief the losing side.
- The losing side can request an accelerated debrief.
- The losing competitor then has 10 calendar days from the time of the debrief to file the actual protest with the GAO.
- The GAO then has up to 100 calendar days to rule on the protest (they may take less time).
- The results can be: 1.) GAO finds no merit and throws out the entire protest; 2.) GAO sustains part of the protest; 3.) GAO sustains all of the protest.
- The GAO does not rule on whether or not the Department chose the right aircraft, which aircraft was better, etc. It only rules on whether the proper process was followed during the source selection.
- The Department can then accept the ruling and provide a timeline for how they will address the issues the GAO ruled on and determine whether and how it impacts the outcome. Or, they can note the GAO ruling but proceed as originally planned.