USAF Background Paper on the Light Air Support Decision

01/25/2012 by Ed Timperlake

We are publishing a USAF background paper currently circulating on the Hill.  It validates everything we have written on Second Line of Defense for more than a year about the LAS competition.

The USAF is circulating a paper on the Hill that clearly lays out for our readers, their judgement on the state of play of getting the planes to the troops.

BULLET BACKGROUND PAPER ON
LIGHT AIR SUPPORT (LAS)

This paper provides information on the LAS acquisition. Due to the ongoing litigation brought by Hawker Beechcraft Defense Corporation (HBDC), the United States Air Force (USAF) cannot release information regarding the LAS competition.

HBDC has extensive and detailed information regarding the USAF’s evaluation of their proposal that is contained in the issued evaluation notices (ENs). HBDC may, at their discretion, provide this information.

DISCUSSION

The LAS acquisition fulfills the CENTCOM requirement to establish an indigenous Afghan advanced training and combat flying capability by procuring twenty (20) non-developmental item (NDI) LAS aircraft, three (3) ground training devices, and three (3) years of interim contractor support (ICS)

  • Funded with U.S. Afghanistan Security Forces Fund (ASFF) and managed through the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) process
  • Acquisition strategy used an Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (ID/IQ) contract vehicle to maximize synergy with potential customer requirements
  • LAS procurement conducted in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations

The USAF engaged in discussions with all offerors from 8 Apr 11 until 23 Sep 11 to ensure we had a clear understanding of their proposals, and all offerors had a clear understanding of the USAF’s requirements.

  • Offerors whose proposals did not meet the LAS requirements were provided ENs outlining proposal deficiencies and weaknesses
  • The ENs contain proprietary information and can only be released by the offeros
  • HBDC was removed from the competitive range on 1 Nov 2011
  • HBDC protested its exclusion from the competitive range with the Government Accountability Office (GAO case number B-406170) on 21 Nov 11
  • GAO dismissed HBDC’s  protest on 22 Dec 11.

On 22 December 2011 Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) was awarded firm-fixed price contract FA8637-12-D-6001 for $355,126,541 that includes:

  • 20 LAS Aircraft
  • 1 Lot OCONUS Interim Contractor Support Long Lead
  • 1 Lot OCONUS Interim Contractor Support Base Activation
  • 6 Mission Planning Stations
— 6 Mission Debrief Systems
— 1 Computer Based Trainer Ground Training Device
— 1 Flight Training Device Ground Training Device
  • 1 Lot LAS Flight Certification to USAF Military Type Certification Standards

LAS event timeline (items in italics are future events or events that have not occurred):

  • 29 Oct 10: Request for Proposals (RFP) released
  • 28  Dec  10:    Vendors’  proposals  received
  • 28 Jan 11: LAS System Demonstration completed
  • 22 Apr 11: DoD provided defense committees ASFF Financial and  Activity Plan for executing FY11 funds
  • 1 Nov 11: HBDC eliminated from competitive range
  • 21 Nov 11: HBDC protested its exclusion from the competitive range to the Government Accountability Office (GAO)
  • 22 Dec 11: GAO dismissed HBDC protest as untimely
  • 22 Dec 11: Contract awarded to SNC
  • 27 Dec 11: HBDC filed suit against the USAF in U.S. Court of Federal Claims, seeking legal review of its elimination from the competition
  • 4 Jan 12: In light of the pending legal review, the USAF issued a stop work order for the LAS contract that was awarded to SNC

The USAF is confident in the merits of the contract award decision and anticipates the litigation will be quickly resolved

  • 6 Mar 12: All motions due to U.S. Court of Federal Claim
  • Apr 2013: LAS deliveries to Afghanistan begin (delays expected due to current litigations)

SUMMARY

The USAF is confident about its contract award decision. The source selection process was deliberative, did not favor one offeror over another and followed strict statutory/administrative guidelines. Our goal remains to provide the Afghanistan government with an indigenous advanced  training  and  combat  capable  aircraft  to  facilitate  Afghanistan’s  internal  security   capability.

"If everyone is thinking alike, someone isn’t thinking."

—General George Patton Jr.

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