Significant concerns on USAF tanker order: Boeing

March 8th, 2008 - 2:19 pm ICT by admin  

New York, March 8 (IANS) The Boeing Company says “significant concerns” remain after a US Air Force (USAF) debriefing during which acquisition officials sought to explain why they selected a team of Northrop Grumman and the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS) for a contract to replace aerial refuelling tankers. The debriefing Friday came one week after what Boeing termed the USAF’s “surprising” announcement that it had chosen the Northrop-EADS team over the Boeing KC-767 tanker offering.

“We spent several hours with Air Force leaders, listening and probing, all in an effort to better understand the reasoning behind their decisions,” Mark McGraw, Boeing vice president and programme manager of the KC-767 tanker, said in a statement.

“While we are grateful for the timely debriefing, we left the room with significant concerns about the process in several areas, including programme requirements related to capabilities, cost and risk; evaluation of the bids and the ultimate decision.

“What is clear now is that reports claiming that the (rival) offering won by a wide margin could not be more inaccurate,” McGraw added.

Boeing officials said they would take the next few days to evaluate the data presented and would give serious consideration to filing a protest.

“Our plan now is to work through the weekend to come to a decision on our course of action early next week,” said McGraw.

“It will be a very rigorous and deliberative process to ensure we’re balancing the needs of the warfighter with our desire to be treated fairly. For decades Boeing has been recognized as a defence company that never takes lightly protests of our customers’ decisions,” he added.

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