US Aerospace KC-X Protest Denied

The Air Force’s drive to select the KC-X tanker supplier later this fall got a big boost on Wednesday when the Government Accountability Office denied US Aerospace’s legal complaint. The company lodged a protest in August, alleging Air Force wrongdoing in rejecting the company’s tanker bid back on July 9. But GAO attorneys have concluded that US Aerospace’s proposal “was received after the deadline,” and that the Air Force “acted appropriately” in rejecting it. “The Air Force is satisfied by the GAO’s findings. Our work on KC-X continues,” USAF spokesman Jack Miller told the Daily Report following the ruling. The decision seemingly clears the way for the downselect decision; either Boeing or EADS North America will win the rights to provide up to 179 new-build KC-X tankers to replace the service’s oldest KC-135s. Pentagon press spokesman Geoff Morrell told us: “We are pleased with the GAO’s decision, but remain focused on evaluating the KC-X bids and awarding a new tanker contract later this fall.” Last month, GAO issued an interim ruling against US Aerospace’s claim that Air Force officials intentionally tried to prevent the company from turning in a bid. (GAO statement) (GAO ruling) (See our initial coverage)