September 1, 2010  

Tanker tricks

TO U.S. AEROSPACE, a previously little-known California-based aircraft components maker, for its dubious allegations against the Air Force regarding the KC-X tanker contract. U.S. Aerospace filed a protest with the Government Accountability Office claiming that its bid was intentionally rejected because the Air Force had political issues with its Ukrainian partner, Antonov. U.S. Aerospace said in a regulatory filing that it missed the deadline for submitting bids, despite turning up with “more than half an hour” to spare, because its messenger was first denied access to the air base and then was given incorrect directions. Yet it also conceded in the same report, filed in July with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the possibility that its bid would likely have been considered noncompliant. “The Air Force may find… that we do not have qualified subcontractors and teaming partners, that we are not a capable and responsible contractor,” it said. The company added that the Air Force might decide its failure to meet the deadline was “attributable to our failure to act diligently and promptly.” The $30billion-$40 billion KC-X contract does indeed demand diligent, prompt and professional attention. U.S. Aerospace’s shenanigans must not be allowed to delay or derail this critical and long-overdue program.