Requests to Dismiss Denied

Boeing tanker vice president Mark McGraw said April 3 his company is “very pleased” that the Government Accountability Office has dismissed separate motions filed by the Air Force and Northrop Grumman to have some elements of Boeing’s protest of the KC-45A tanker contract summarily dismissed. In a teleconference with reporters, McGraw said it’s a “good sign” for the ongoing protest that the GAO acted “in full and quickly.” Boeing has now offered four supplements to its original March 11 protest, the latest being March 31. The additional versions are being submitted to GAO as more information about how USAF made its choice is being made available to Boeing, and the company “discovers” more problems with the contract, McGraw said. One of the new pieces that has emerged is that the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company, Northrop Grumman’s tanker partner and parent of aircraft maker Airbus, managed to get a “low-risk” rating by saying that, if production problems arise in building the KC-45A airplane in Alabama, the companies will just continue to build them in Toulouse, France, McGraw claimed. That’s where the A330, on which the KC-45A is based, is now built. He also said that while Northrop was continuously given “the benefit of the doubt” on unsubstantiated costs and numbers, Boeing’s vetted figures were dismissed as unreliable. McGraw claimed that was because Northrop quoted a fixed price on some of those items, which USAF then graded as low risk. “This is the epitome of disparate treatment,” Boeing said in its second supplemental protest brief. —John A. Tirpak