Some members of the Kansas Congressional delegation are urging U.S. Department of Defense Secretary Robert Gates not to extend the deadline for accepting bids for aerial refuelers for the U.S. Air Force, calling the suggestion “outrageous and inappropriate.”
“We are concerned by multiple reports of lobbying by foreign governments and EADS to extend the deadline for accepting bids,” a letter to Gates said. It signed by U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback, U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts and U.S. Rep. Todd Tiahrt.
“Companies should not be led to believe that they can engage in sole source blackmail to manipulate the procurement process, yet that is exactly the impression DOD would give if it extends the bid deadline,” the letter said.
Northrop Grumman, which was to offer an Airbus A330 as the basis for a tanker, dropped out of the competition. And there are reports that Airbus parent company, EADS, is lobbying to extend the deadline so it can bid. French and British government leaders slammed the U.S. last week, saying it is engaging in protectionism.
“We hope you will stand firm and defend the validated requirements found in the Request for Proposal,” the letter said. “As you know, foreign competitors are allowed to bid for U.S. defense contracts, and have seen great success in recent years. In fact, we are concerned the Department of Defense has gone too far in supporting foreign competitors by ignoring illegal subsidies and failing to equally apply costly regulations.”
To suggest the that the DOD should alter the proposal to ensure that a foreign competitor will bid “is outrageous and inappropriate. The Department of Defense has a responsibility to the warfighter, not foreign nations or companies.”