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Details of the Boeing Protest for the B-21 Raider Contract Award Revealed

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posted on Oct, 25 2016 @ 10:56 PM
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So, at least some of the objections to the Northrop award have been made public now.

There are some interesting ones in there.

It ought to be noted, there were more weak points in the NG proposal than the BoLock one. However, the price was significantly lower in the NG proposal. The costing for engineers is an interesting one, I thought. Either NG really did low ball it some or feels they have enough of a handle on the tech as to not need rockstars.

Interesting all the way around though.


www.flightglobal.com...




posted on Oct, 25 2016 @ 11:07 PM
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a reply to: anzha

Great. This is the same exact # issue we had with ATACMS. Bad building made them go off target and caused a couple incidents.

I and several others had to go before a congressional hearing and testify over it. They changed the missile manufacturer over it and some things were supposed to change...

I guess not. Add one more to the why I am jaded list.



posted on Oct, 25 2016 @ 11:11 PM
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I'm still amazed that Northrop won. Gotta love politics. It'll be fun seeing the Boeing trainer replacing the T-38 so they can protect the industrial base again. Be interesting to see the excuses they come up with for that one.



posted on Oct, 25 2016 @ 11:19 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

Really think they'll go with the boeing-saab thingy or whatever they are calling it now? I thought the T-50 was on track to grab that?



posted on Oct, 25 2016 @ 11:27 PM
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a reply to: thesungod

If Boeing loses the T-X, then they won't have a fighter production line when the F-XX and F/A-XX programs roll around. They've managed to extend the F-15 and F-18 lines in St Louis through about 2019, maybe into 2020, but once they're closed, the only military program Boeing has left is the KC-46. When they drop the RFP for the F-XX and F/A-XX it will go to Lockheed virtually by default if Boeing doesn't have a line left.



posted on Oct, 26 2016 @ 05:28 AM
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What a huge waste of money. No one should have gotten this contract.

There is no need for this weapon system.

There are so many better options to invest in, if the money has to go towards death and destruction. We shouldn't be investing in that but if we absolutely have to - at least invest it wisely.

If it were me choosing I'd invest all of that $ into cruise missiles, radar and satellite systems, and jamming equipment.

The B-21 just doesn't seem cost effective. Once one tiny flaw is discovered it'll become obsolete overnight. It's a waste of money, the future battlefield is too dangerous to put all these $ in one basket like this.

I strongly disapprove of the entire project and the very notion of this doctrine and it's strategy.



posted on Oct, 26 2016 @ 06:48 AM
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a reply to: thesungod

As a CO I don't envy your experience with a congressional hearing...

Still going through this with my morning coffee, but it seems like on first reading that Boeing's legal team that filed this protest needs some more expertise when it comes to GAO decisions. The fact that their protest included adding language / re-defining core technical evaluation definitions from the RFP is a non-starter for any GAO decision.

Still going through this before I would be willing to claim politics is why Northrup won, but preliminarily it looks like Boeing's team working this protest didn't do their homework with GAO case law (just my humble opinion based on the decision document - not meant to disparage any particular company or folks who have worked for any particular company).



posted on Oct, 26 2016 @ 08:50 AM
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a reply to: SonOfThor

The whole thing reeks of politics. Not that Northrop can't build a good aircraft, but if you look at the whole picture there were a number of things that stink. Such as them having to ground their aircraft right in the middle of the fly off, for something like 90 days, after damn near losing it. Or this part from the GAO:


The GAO also notes that while Boeing’s proposal included four weaknesses, Northrop’s remained acceptable with ten weaknesses. Still, these weaknesses would have little or no impact on contract performance and could be mitigated with government monitoring.


When has any branch of the government ever managed to successfully mitigate any kind of problem in a contract by monitoring it?



posted on Oct, 26 2016 @ 09:26 AM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

I see what you're saying - pretty much any major project has absurd politics involved and I agree.

To be more clear I just mean with regards to the protest; I'm surprised Boeing went at it the way they did. The GAO always leaves the evaluation up to the agency's discretion; by citing IPlus, Inc. case, and the Urban-Meridian Joint Venture case in their decision memo the GAO is reiterating that a protestor (nor the GAO for that matter) can't re-define, re-characterize, or re-interpret the meaning of solicitation language. This is why the GAO also cited the Alliance Technical Services case - it resorts back to the notion of "plain reading" of the solicitation, rather than as GAO puts it "Boeing's strained interpretation of the definition which requires the introduction of additional language"...

Put simply - there is no legal basis or case law foundation for the argument that "close government monitoring" is an unacceptable risk mitigation basis. This judgment is left to the evaluating agency / source selection authority.

Now, that being said, I'm still reading through this, but with the RFP and evaluation sub-factors being redacted / classified, I wouldn't be able to provide an alternative basis of protest - but I would reiterate that I am surprised Boeing's legal team went the way they did.

Any competent Contracting Officer would tell you that the GAO will only look to make sure the evaluation factors in the solicitation line up with the documented evaluation of offers, and that no factors were considered that weren't explicitly stated on the solicitation.

I could also give you myriad details of contracts that have had problems resolved efficiently as a result of a solid QASP (quality assurance surveillance plan) but would caveat that with the agreement that major DOD projects are on a completely different scale.

Still reading through the protest decision though...



posted on Oct, 26 2016 @ 09:31 AM
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a reply to: SonOfThor

I have the feeling Boeing was promised something if they'd let Northrop get the bomber, and only made a token protest, because too many people would be suspicious if they didn't.



posted on Oct, 26 2016 @ 09:38 AM
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a reply to: Zaphod58


Now that is an interesting angle that I hadn't even considered. Granted - that seems risky accepting any kind of 'promise' that is prone to future changes in budgets / congress / administrations / geo-politics, etc.

I also wouldn't have any knowledge of how much Boeing (and Lockheed) for that matter are getting on the black budget side, but based on estimated guesses of what kinds of platforms are out there (including those of the lovely green variety) I would read assume Lockheed and Boeing are still doing just fine.



posted on Oct, 26 2016 @ 09:44 AM
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a reply to: SonOfThor

I especially like how in one sentence the GAO says Northrop had a significantly lower EMD phase, then in the next they say Boeing bid the second lowest new aircraft development program to date, only being higher than the C-17.

But the AF was worried about overall cost.



posted on Oct, 26 2016 @ 09:55 AM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

I can't imagine ANY black project (short of developing/launching an entirely new satellite constellation for the NRO) being worth losing a $50bn Bomber contract, so could it be that they were promised T-X?

T-X doesn't seem to be worth much on the domestic front, other than being a guaranteed source of income for the next 50 years, but the Boeing design SCREAMS "export market" and getting the go-ahead to build the 21st century equivalent of the F-5 could be seen as a HUGE perk, especially with so many air forces balking at the climbing price of 1st-line Western fighters.

It couldn't possibly be F-X or the F/A-XX, right? Or could the USAF be looking to ditch Lockheed for their next new fighter?
edit on 26-10-2016 by Barnalby because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 26 2016 @ 10:00 AM
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a reply to: Barnalby

Wouldn't NG also have to be 'on board' with this promise? I mean, without getting source selection sensitive / procurement sensitive info how could USAF ensure Boeing / Lockheed got the T-X for instance, with everything being above board?



posted on Oct, 26 2016 @ 10:02 AM
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a reply to: Barnalby

It could be either, but probably T-X, possibly with a favorable look at either F-XX or F/A-XX. They need T-X to keep St Louis going until then. If they go Red Air with it, T-X will be pretty big. Not as big as the bomber, but pretty big.



posted on Oct, 26 2016 @ 10:04 AM
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originally posted by: SonOfThor
a reply to: Barnalbyeverything being above board


If Wikileaks has taught us anything this year, it's that if you're expecting any sort of integrity like that from the current state of American politics, then you're going to come away pretty darn disappointed.
edit on 26-10-2016 by Barnalby because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 26 2016 @ 10:05 AM
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a reply to: SonOfThor

Not necessarily. The AF could weigh things a little heavier in Boeing's favor, or fudge a few numbers. Something "accidentally" gets sent to the wing people, like with the tanker, etc. There are a number of ways to do it.



posted on Oct, 26 2016 @ 10:10 AM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

Yeah, I could see T-X selling like hotcakes in Latin America and Southeast Asia (if they don't all flip to China like Duterte did and get steep discounts on Shenyang J-31's as a thank-you for their newfound loyalty).

India also seems to love buying whatever's cheap, and the T-X might as well be an air-dominance fighter compared to the warmed-over Mig 21's that Pakistan has, so they might be good for a few squadrons.



posted on Oct, 26 2016 @ 10:12 AM
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a reply to: Barnalby

If they add in ground attack, it'll look really good to a few places in Asia. The foreign market could explode.



posted on Oct, 26 2016 @ 10:14 AM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

At the same time, if China tried to flood the market with heavily subsidized hardware (J-31's for Mig-29 money?), I could also see that absolutely taking off, and that sounds EXACTLY like something they would do.




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