Line in the Sand

Northrop Grumman upped the pressure, potentially one last time, in the Air Force’s high-stakes KC-X tanker competition, as Northrop President Wes Bush told Pentagon acquisition executive Ashton Carter Tuesday that, “absent a responsive set of changes” in the solicitation, his company will not be submitting a bid, according to press reports. Reuters news wire service reported that, in a letter dated Dec. 1, Bush writes Carter that it doesn’t appear that Northrop’s concerns with the draft request for proposals, such as the RFP’s “clear preference” for smaller aircraft—ostensibly giving rival Boeing’s KC-767 design the advantage—will be addressed by the time the final version of the tanker solicitation is issued, based on the Pentagon’s feedback thus far. As a result, Northrop “cannot proceed” to submit a bid, Bush wrote Carter, according to Reuters. (For more, read The Hill’s report and the Press-Register’s report.)