July 27, 2012
Credit: Credit: USAF
A U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) follow-up on U.S. Air Force procurement plans for the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) finds progress or completion on six of seven recommendations.
The July 26 report, a follow-up to GAO’s September 2011 assessment (Aerospace DAILY, Oct. 18, 2011), evaluates progress, but makes no new recommendations.
In September, The Air Force was gathering cost and other data for its acquisition strategy, completed in November. The data gathering, to inform plans for block buys of booster cores in fiscal 2013-17, is expected to be completed later this summer.
Also coming this summer, GAO says, is the certified pricing proposal from United Launch Alliance (ULA) for its Atlas V and Delta IV booster cores. The proposal will detail pricing for different launch quantities across several contract lengths. This addresses GAO’s recommendation in September that the service reassess the length of the proposed block buy.
Meanwhile, GAO says, the Defense Department plans to award a single-year bridge contract in fiscal 2013, while the Air Force continues data gathering, including subcontractor costs.
Another point relevant to pricing is whether the number of launches expected for EELV actually occur in fiscal 2013-2017. Without an accurate confidence assessment, GAO says the service “could find itself with a significant oversupply of launch vehicles, potentially requiring storage, retest, and retooling.” Officials told GAO that the Air Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center is assessing the confidence associated with each of the satellites planned for launch during the period.