Boeing Wants More Time For KC-X Bid

Boeing last week told the Office of the Secretary of Defense that it needs six months to prepare its bid for the reopened KC-X tanker contest. This would obviously torpedo OSD’s plans to announce the winner around year’s end. But Boeing’s position is that, if unable to secure “sufficient time” to assemble a “meaningful, detailed, and competitive bid,” it would have “little option” other than to pull out of the competition, said company spokesman Dan Beck. “We are only asking for adequate time to put together a competitive proposal,” he told the Daily Report Aug. 22, adding, “[OSD] is essentially asking for a different kind of plane from the first competition.” Boeing offered a tanker based on its 767-200 airframe in the first go-around. Based on its reading of the revised draft KC-X solicitation, Boeing now thinks it may have to offer a larger variant of the 767 to be competitive, said Jim Albaugh, head of the company’s defense sector, reported the Wall Street Journal Aug. 22 (requires registration). Meanwhile Northrop Grumman, in a release that same day called Boeing’s request “disturbing.” OSD had planned to give the two offerors 60 days to submit revised bids upon release of the final version of the revamped RFP, which is still pending. (OSD and Air Force officials have met with representatives of both companies to discuss the revised RFP.) Northrop said this is “more than enough time.” If a competitor decides to fundamentally change its offer, “that is their choice, but the warfighter and taxpayer should not have to bear the burden of their late-breaking change in business strategy,” the company said.