FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 2, 2007
Schumer Calls On Air Force To Reopen The Books On The CSAR-X Contract -- Owego Workers Have A Shot
GAO Report Specifically Found Original Award Process to Be Flawed, with Other Bidders Given Unfair Advantage
Schumer, who Lead the Fight to Bring the US 101 Contract to Owego, Says this $15 Billion Contract would be a Boon for the Entire Region
Today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer called on the Air Force to reopen the books on the flawed bidding process that led to Boeing being awarded the Combat Search and Rescue - Personnel Recovery Vehicle (CSAR-X) over Sikorsky and Lockheed Martin, who had said they would build the vehicle at its plant in Owego. On Monday, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) sustained a protest filed by Lockheed Martin and Sikorsky Aircraft, saying that the U.S. Air Force's evaluation of the "life cycle costs" of operating the helicopters was "inconsistent" with the approach it had outlined in the terms of the competition.
"The bottom line is the workers of Lockheed Martin deserve a fair shot at this contract and they certainly didn't get it the first time around," Schumer said. "The Air Force needs to scrap the first bidding process and reopen the books. I am disappointed that the Air Force has chosen to take a narrow view of the GAO's decision and hope it reverses course."
Yesterday, the Air Force responded to the GAO report saying it will "comply with the intent of the recommendations more narrowly". Schumer said that while this is a good first step, in order to give Lockheed a fair shot, the Air Force must reopen the contract completely so a new competitive process can occur with all companies competing on a level playing field. On Monday, the GAO announced that the Air Force had erred in its contract award to Boeing saying the military based its review of the proposals on criteria that were inconsistent with the approach quoted in the official specifications.
According to Lockheed Martin, 200 jobs would be added to the Owego facility if Lockheed were awarded the contract.
In his letter Schumer said, "I am urging the Air Force to conduct a full and thorough re-bid of the competitors' proposals to select the best medium lift helicopter to meet the search and rescue needs of the Air Force.
In 2005, Schumer aggressively and repeatedly lobbied State Department and Pentagon officials to support Lockheed's bid for the contract. Schumer supported the US 101 bid because it could create 700 jobs in Owego, and because the Lockheed helicopter is uniquely equipped to handle transporting the President. The contract on the Presidential fleet would allow the selected company to lead production of presidential helicopters that fly the President from the White House lawn to local destinations or to Air Force One for longer trips. The aircraft would be delivered by 2007.