B-136121, JUN. 30, 1958

B-136121: Jun 30, 1958

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YOU ARE ADVISED THAT UNDER DATE OF MAY 5. THIS CLASS OF CONTRACT WILL CONSIST OF ONE OR MORE CONTRACTS FOR THE MANUFACTURE OF BRIDLE AND PENDANT ASSEMBLIES FOR LAUNCHING THE AJ. THE LAUNCHING OF AIRPLANES FROM AIRCRAFT CARRIERS DEPENDS UPON THE AVAILABILITY OF THE BRIDLE OR PENDANT WHICH IS MANUFACTURED FROM WIRE ROPE WITH SUITABLE END FITTINGS OR LOOPS CAPABLE OF MAKING THE HOOK UP BETWEEN THE CATAPULT AND THE AIRPLANE. "3. AS AIRCRAFT WEIGHT AND TAKEOFF VELOCITY HAVE INCREASED. THE WIRE ROPE BRIDLE AND PENDANT SIZE AND WEIGHT HAVE ALSO INCREASED. A FACTOR OF SAFETY OF ONLY 1 1/2 TIMES THE STRENGTH REQUIRED IS USED. WIRE ROPE SYSTEMS HAVE DESIGN FACTORS OF FROM 5 TO 10 TIMES THE REQUIRED STRENGTH. "4.

B-136121, JUN. 30, 1958

TO SANDNES' SONS:

IN FURTHER REFERENCE TO YOUR PROTEST, THROUGH YOUR ATTORNEYS, AGAINST THE CANCELLATION BY THE DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY OF ALL PROPOSALS, INCLUDING YOUR REPORTED LOW BID, ON AIRCRAFT LAUNCHING PENDANT AND BRIDLE ASSEMBLIES, SUBMITTED IN RESPONSE TO INVITATION NO. IFB 156-201-58, ISSUED JANUARY 27, 1958, BY THE NAVAL AIR MATERIAL CENTER, PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA, YOU ARE ADVISED THAT UNDER DATE OF MAY 5, 1958, THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY RENDERED HIS "DETERMINATION AND FINDINGS" NO. 58-50, AS FOLLOWS:

"AUTHORITY TO NEGOTIATE CLASS OF CONTRACTS

"UPON THE BASIS OF THE FOLLOWING FINDINGS AND DETERMINATION WHICH I HEREBY MAKE AS AGENCY HEAD, MATERIAL OF THE CLASS DESCRIBED BELOW MAY BE NEGOTIATED WITHOUT FORMAL ADVERTISING PURSUANT TO THE AUTHORITY OF 10 U.S.C. 2304 (A) (16).

FINDINGS

"1. THIS CLASS OF CONTRACT WILL CONSIST OF ONE OR MORE CONTRACTS FOR THE MANUFACTURE OF BRIDLE AND PENDANT ASSEMBLIES FOR LAUNCHING THE AJ, F2H, F7U, AD, A3D, F3D, AF, S2F, F9F, FJ, F4D, AND TF TYPE AIRCRAFT FROM NAVY CARRIERS.

"2. THE LAUNCHING OF AIRPLANES FROM AIRCRAFT CARRIERS DEPENDS UPON THE AVAILABILITY OF THE BRIDLE OR PENDANT WHICH IS MANUFACTURED FROM WIRE ROPE WITH SUITABLE END FITTINGS OR LOOPS CAPABLE OF MAKING THE HOOK UP BETWEEN THE CATAPULT AND THE AIRPLANE.

"3. AS AIRCRAFT WEIGHT AND TAKEOFF VELOCITY HAVE INCREASED, THE WIRE ROPE BRIDLE AND PENDANT SIZE AND WEIGHT HAVE ALSO INCREASED. THE PRESENT SIZES AND STRENGTH REQUIREMENTS NECESSITATE THE EXERCISE OF EXTREME CARE IN THE MANUFACTURE OF BRIDLES AND PENDANTS. DUE TO THE NECESSITY OF LIMITING THE WEIGHTS OF BRIDLE AND PENDANT ASSEMBLIES TO FACILITATE EASE OF HANDLING ABOARD CARRIERS, A FACTOR OF SAFETY OF ONLY 1 1/2 TIMES THE STRENGTH REQUIRED IS USED. IN INDUSTRIAL APPLICATIONS, WIRE ROPE SYSTEMS HAVE DESIGN FACTORS OF FROM 5 TO 10 TIMES THE REQUIRED STRENGTH.

"4. IN SPITE OF THE SMALL SAFETY FACTOR MARGIN, BRIDLES AND PENDANTS ARE SUBJECTED TO PECULIAR DYNAMIC LOADS IN THE LAUNCHING OPERATIONS. THE EFFECTS OF DYNAMIC LOADING ON WIRE ROPE, THE MECHANICAL SPLICE OR THE FORGED END FITTINGS DURING THE LAUNCHING OPERATION PRODUCE A PHENOMENON ON WHICH VERY LITTLE TECHNICAL KNOWLEDGE IS AVAILABLE. THE DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY HAS BEEN AWARE OF THE LACK OF STATISTICAL DATA AND ENGINEERING CALCULATIONS FOR THE PERFORMANCE OF WIRE ROPE UNDER DYNAMIC LOADS AND RESEARCH HAS BEEN CONDUCTED IN THIS AREA. HOWEVER, FACTUAL CONCLUSIONS HAVE NOT YET BEEN DEVELOPED AND NO PERFORMANCE CHARACTERISTICS HAVE BEEN ESTABLISHED AS A GUIDE FOR SUCCESSFUL MANUFACTURE OF WIRE ROPE TO MEET THE DYNAMIC LOADS OF AIRCRAFT LAUNCHINGS. LITTLE OR NO KNOWLEDGE IS AVAILABLE ON THE EFFECTS TO FORGED FITTINGS FROM DYNAMIC LOADS.

"5. DUE TO THE CRITICAL NATURE OF THIS PROBLEM AND THE SERIOUS AND COSTLY SAFETY FACTOR INVOLVED, APPROXIMATELY FIVE YEARS AGO, CERTAIN COMPANIES ENGAGED IN AN ENGINEERING STUDY OF AIRCRAFT CARRIER LAUNCHINGS WITHOUT REIMBURSEMENT FROM THE NAVY. EACH FIRM EVENTUALLY DEVELOPED SATISFACTORY DESIGN AND MANUFACTURING TECHNIQUES BY THE USE OF EMPIRICAL METHODS. SEVERAL FATALITIES OCCURRED IN THE FLEET DURING THE DEVELOPMENT PERIOD. FOR EXAMPLE, FROM 17 SEPTEMBER 1954 TO 11 NOVEMBER 1955 THERE WERE FIVE (5) FAILURES. DURING 1956, THERE WERE THREE (3) FAILURES. TWO (2) FAILURES OCCURRED IN 1957. ONE FAILURE HAS OCCURRED, TO DATE, IN 1958. EVERY FAILURE HAS RESULTED IN AN INVESTIGATION AND CONSIDERABLE WORK WAS DONE BY THE CONTRACTORS TO FURTHER IMPROVE DESIGN AND MANUFACTURING TECHNIQUES.

"6. CONTINUED USE OF FORMAL ADVERTISING AS THE METHOD OF PROCUREMENT OF AIRCRAFT BRIDLE AND PENDANT LAUNCHING ASSEMBLIES MAY PREVENT UTILIZATION OF THE SKILLS AND TECHNIQUES OF MANUFACTURING PRESENTLY POSSESSED BY BETHLEHEM STEEL COMPANY, AMERICAN STEEL AND WIRE DIVISION OF UNITED STATES STEEL CORPORATION, AMERICAN CHAIN AND CABLE COMPANY, INC., AND JOHN A. ROEBLING SONS, INC. SUCH SKILLS AND TECHNIQUES HAVE BEEN ACQUIRED BY THESE FIRMS ONLY AFTER LONG, COSTLY, AND DIFFICULT EXPERIENCE. IF NEW AND INEXPERIENCED FIRMS WERE TO SECURE CONTRACTS AFTER FORMAL ADVERTISING ON THE BASIS OF PRICE AND THEIR BELIEF THAT SATISFACTORY SUPPLIES COULD BE PRODUCED BY THEM, SUCH SUPPLIES PRODUCED DURING THE NECESSARY LEARNING PERIOD COULD BE INHERENTLY FAULTY AND RESULT IN THE LOSS OF LIVES AND/OR AIRCRAFT. DYNAMIC TESTS WHICH COULD PREVENT SUCH LOSSES, ARE NOT POSSIBLE AS FACILITIES THEREFOR ARE NON-EXISTENT IN INDUSTRY AND THE LIMITED FACILITIES WITHIN THE NAVY FOR SUCH TESTS CANNOT BE MADE AVAILABLE FOR THIS PURPOSE. IT IS ESSENTIAL THAT CONTINUOUS DEVELOPMENT OF THE ART BE ENCOURAGED SO THAT THESE ASSEMBLIES WITH HIGHER PERFORMANCE AND RELIABILITY CHARACTERISTICS BE AVAILABLE FOR THE NEW HIGH SPEED AIRCRAFT TO BE DEVELOPED. ONLY PRODUCERS OF THESE ASSEMBLIES WHO HAVE GAINED VALUABLE EXPERIENCE IN THE EXTREMELY DIFFICULT DESIGN AND MANUFACTURING PROCESSES AND WHO HAVE PROVEN THE ACCEPTABILITY OF THEIR METHODS AND PRODUCT CAN BE USED WITH MAXIMUM SAFETY TO PERSONNEL AND AIRCRAFT, AND RELIABILITY FOR CONTINUOUS FLEET OPERATIONS.

"7. BECAUSE OF THE CRITICAL NATURE OF SAFETY OF OPERATION OF THESE ITEMS, IT IS CONSIDERED ESSENTIAL IN THE INTEREST OF NATIONAL DEFENSE THAT NEGOTIATIONS BE CONDUCTED WITH ONLY THE PROVEN PRODUCERS IN ORDER TO PREVENT THE LOSS OF THEIR ENGINEERING ABILITY AND PRODUCTION SKILLS.

DETERMINATION

"IT IS IN THE INTEREST OF NATIONAL DEFENSE THAT LAUNCHING BRIDLES AND PENDANTS OF GREATEST RELIABILITY BE PROCURED FOR CURRENT AND MOBILIZATION REQUIREMENTS AND, MORE SIGNIFICANTLY, THAT ACTIVE ENGINEERING AND DEVELOPMENT BE MAINTAINED, AND PROCUREMENT BY NEGOTIATION IS NECESSARY TO THAT END.

"THIS CLASS DETERMINATION SHALL REMAIN IN EFFECT UNTIL 30 JUNE 1959.'

THE AFORESAID DETERMINATION WAS MADE PURSUANT TO PUBLIC LAW 1028, 84TH CONGRESS, APPROVED AUGUST 10, 1956, 70A STAT. 128-129, 10 U.S.C. 2304 (A) (16), WHICH READS, IN PERTINENT PART:

"/A) PURCHASES OF AND CONTRACTS FOR PROPERTY OR SERVICES COVERED BY THIS CHAPTER SHALL BE MADE BY FORMAL ADVERTISING. HOWEVER, THE HEAD OF AN AGENCY MAY NEGOTIATE SUCH A PURCHASE OR CONTRACT, IF---

"/16) HE DETERMINES THAT (A) IT IS IN THE INTEREST OF NATIONAL DEFENSE TO HAVE A PLANT, MINE, OR OTHER FACILITY, OR A PRODUCER, MANUFACTURER, OR OTHER SUPPLIER, AVAILABLE FOR FURNISHING PROPERTY OR SERVICES IN CASE OF A NATIONAL EMERGENCY; OR (B) THE INTEREST OF INDUSTRIAL MOBILIZATION IN CASE OF SUCH AN EMERGENCY, OR THE INTEREST OF NATIONAL DEFENSE IN MAINTAINING ACTIVE ENGINEERING, RESEARCH, AND DEVELOPMENT, WOULD OTHERWISE BE SUBSERVED.'

UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF 10 U.S.C. 2310:

"/A) DETERMINATIONS AND DECISIONS REQUIRED TO BE MADE UNDER THIS CHAPTER BY THE HEAD OF AN AGENCY MAY BE MADE FOR AN INDIVIDUAL PURCHASE OR CONTRACT OR FOR A CLASS OF PURCHASES OR CONTRACTS. SUCH A DETERMINATION OR DECISION IS FINAL.

"/B) EACH DETERMINATION OR DECISION UNDER CLAUSES (11/-/16) OF SECTION 2304 (A) * * * OF THIS TITLE SHALL BE BASED ON A WRITTEN FINDING BY THE PERSON MAKING THE DETERMINATION OR DECISION. SUCH A FINDING IS FINAL AND SHALL BE KEPT AVAILABLE IN THE AGENCY FOR AT LEAST SIX YEARS AFTER THE DATE OF THE DETERMINATION OR DECISION. * * *"

THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY HAVING DETERMINED, IN THE EXERCISE OF THE DISCRETIONARY POWERS CONFERRED EXCLUSIVELY UPON HIM BY THE CONGRESS, THAT THE INTEREST OF OUR NATIONAL DEFENSE WOULD BE FACILITATED BY NEGOTIATING FOR THE PROCUREMENT OF THESE AIRCRAFT BRIDLE AND PENDANT LAUNCHING ASSEMBLIES ONLY WITH THE "PROVEN" PRODUCERS OF SUCH EQUIPMENT, HIS DETERMINATION UPON THIS MATTER MUST BE REGARDED AS FINAL CONCLUSIVE, AND NOT SUBJECT TO REVIEW EITHER BY THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE, OR THE COURTS.

ACCORDINGLY AND SINCE UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF 10 U.S.C. 2305 (B) THE HEAD OF A MILITARY DEPARTMENT IS EXPRESSLY AUTHORIZED TO REJECT ALL BIDS RECEIVED UNDER AN INVITATION "WHEN HE DETERMINES THAT REJECTION IS IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST," YOU ARE ADVISED THAT NO LEGAL JUSTIFICATION EXISTS FOR QUESTIONING THE ACTION OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY IN HAVING CANCELLED ALL BIDS ..END :