Feel Free to Do Better

Contractors proposing concepts for the Air Force’s Long-Range Strike Bomber can offer better than the Air Force’s minimum requirements and get paid for them if the price is right, service acquisition head William LaPlante told Air Force Magazine. Although USAF has shown laudable “discipline” on not changing the LRS-B requirements, which he said have remained fixed since 2010 and can only be altered by the Chief of Staff, the service is trying to structure the request for proposals such that contractors can offer “more than the lowest-acceptable technology” solution. However, there are relatively strict limits on weight and volume in the airplane, and any capability over and above the threshold “has to earn its way on” to the aircraft. The strategy is in keeping with the Pentagon’s “Better Buying Power” guidelines, which allow rewarding contractors who offer substantially more capability for only marginally higher cost.