5 Minute Delay Scuttles Chance at $40 Billion Air Force Deal

According to Aviation Week ace Amy Butler, the company claims its messenger delivered the proposal to the gate of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio by 1:30 pm on July 9th. But the messenger had time to spare: The deadline was 2 p.m. that day. (What, you wouldn't leave a contract worth tens of billions of dollars to the last half-hour, too?)

Anyway, Air Force guards allegedly denied the messenger access to the base. Then the guy got lost, once he was inside.

"By the time the papers reached their destination, the Air Force stamped the proposal as being received at 2:05," Butler reports. Too late, in other words.

"Air Force officials subsequently told a company representative that delays at installation gates are common (and they are — I've been subject to more than a few), and that the company should have anticipated this potential snag and planned appropriately.

But, the U.S. Aerospace argument is that Air Force personnel "intentionally delayed the messenger from delivering the proposal in order to create a pretext for refusing to consider it because they have political issues" with the principal supplier, Ukrainian state owned Antonov, according to the industry executive.

If this is proven to be true, it will bring the KC-X competition and the entire U.S. Air Force acquisition system to its knees after and already rough decade of missteps and scandals."

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