Revised KC-X Bidding Process Starts

The Office of the Secretary of Defense rolled out the new and improved draft request for proposals for the Air Force’s belabored KC-X tanker competition yesterday (Aug. 6), saying little about the contents of the revamped document apart from its inclusion of the new 40-year lifecycle cost evaluation timeline to replace the previous 25-year one. Director of Defense Procurement and Acquisitions Policy Shay Assad told reporters during a briefing that the new RFP is narrowly focused on addressing the problems the Government Accountability Office found with the initial document. “We are addressing them in a very measured and serious way,” he said. The new plan is to discuss elements of the draft with the two competitors, Boeing and Northrop Grumman, over the next week or so, then issue a final RFP by the middle of August. Both competitors have 45 days to update their proposals, and then, from early October to late November, discussions will be held with each competitor to evaluate their new offers. OSD expects to receive each best and final offer by the first week of December and to make an award around New Year’s Eve, Assad said. He did say the department is grounding itself in the KC-X capabilities development document that spelled out the tanker’s requirements. He also said the language in the document was made “unambiguous” to reflect that extra consideration would be given to attributes in the offerors’ tanker designs that exceed minimum mandatory performance levels. But there will be no extra consideration given for exceeding the new tanker’s objective requirements—a position not all that different from the initial RFP. “It was always our intention to give positive consideration for the amount of fuel offload over threshold,” he said.