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Only hours after Northrop Grumman wailed about its problems with the KC-X draft RFP yesterday in a Washington press conference, Air Force Secretary Michael Donley said the service is open to amending it.“I would imagine that we are going to consider some change to the RFP,” he told Aviation Week during an Oct. 28 interview.But, he doesn't seem happy at the tenor of debate on the draft RFP. Already, Boeing's guy on the Hill -- Rep. Norm Dicks of Washington -- and Northrop/EADS's guy on the Hill -- Sen. Richard Shelby -- are crying foul. And Northrop all but accused the Pentagon of breaking the law yesterday when it released proposed pricing data on the first KC-X competition to Boeing last year. “We really don’t need the emotional [element] and this is a tough project in an of itself,” Donley says. “We don’t need all of the difficult and complicating elements that are added to that when people try to develop campaigns in favor of their program.”But, the reality is that Northrop has nothing to lose. Being a nice supplier isn't one of 373 mandatory pass/fail requirements for the KC-X source selection. And, in terms of past performance in the area of vocal criticism on KC-X, Northrop has a decent track record. Its no-bid threat last go-around actually produced the "Factor 5" Integrated Fleet Air Refueling Assessment that quantified the larger tanker's attributes, and the company won that try. Boeing, for its part is mum for now; the company basically declared it is taking the high road and vetting its worries direct to the Air Force.But, they haven't been unheard. Donley acknowledged yesterday during the interview that “We’ve been criticized by both sides, as expected. It is up to the contractors to decide how vocal they want to be in this debate."But, make no mistake. Donley is standing by his draft RFP. "We think it is a strong RFP and we think the main outlines of it are very well [put] together."
“We really don’t need the emotional [element] and this is a tough project in an of itself,” Donley says. “We don’t need all of the difficult and complicating elements that are added to that when people try to develop campaigns in favor of their program.”
ar99 donely usaf tanker RFP
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