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GAO Denies US Aerospace Protest

The Government Accountability Office has denied all aspects of the KC-X protest by tiny upstart U.S. Aerospace. This is the company that was working with Antonov and claimed the Air Force misdirected their messenger when he tried to deliver the company's bid less than an hour before the Pentagon's deadline. Its erstwhile competitors, Boeing and EADS NA, delivered their bids long before US Aerospace's messenger got tied up at the Wright-Patterson base gate and then got lost.

If you want to get some idea just how weird the small company's protest got, read this excerpt from the protest decision. Note especially the "sniper spotter" reference:

"First, USAI challenged the accuracy of the website map provided with the agency report, suggesting that the map is "incorrect and/or outdated." USAI Opposition to Dismissal at 2. In this regard, USAI complained that currently available photographic maps of Wright-Patterson AFB reflect a 'missing section of Eleventh Street, which has been . . . removed since the Air Force maps were drawn'" further noting that USAI's photographic maps indicate that another building has been 'built over the missing section of Eleventh Street.' Id. USAI's opposition to dismissal further complained that the sign in front of building 570, which identifies both the building number and the address of '1755 Eleventh Street,' is located "some 50 to 100 yards from Eleventh Street," and is 'impossible for anyone to see without the assistance of a sniper spotter with a high-powered spotting scope.' Id. Accordingly, USAI maintained that its messenger 'could not fairly be blamed for being unable to find Building 570.'"

Hopefully, neither Boeing nor EADS NA will consider a protest should they lose the bid for the $45 billion airborne tanker program. If they do, they will risk being compared to US Aerospace. How much would that hurt their credibility?

The protest is denied.

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