B-153753, JUN. 17, 1964

B-153753: Jun 17, 1964

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TO AMERICAN FILTRATION CO.: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 17. PROPOSALS WERE INVITED FOR FURNISHING. ONLY TWO PROPOSALS WERE RECEIVED. YOUR QUOTATION WAS ACCOMPANIED BY A LETTER DATED FEBRUARY 1. WHICH INDICATED THAT YOUR EMPLOYEES WERE FAMILIAR WITH THE ITEMS IN QUESTION AS MANY OF THEM WERE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE MANUFACTURE OF THE ITEM WHILE EMPLOYED BY THE PERMANENT FILTER CORPORATION. YOUR PROPOSAL WAS REFERRED TO THE WARNER ROBINS AIR MATERIEL AREA. THE AIR MATERIEL AREA ADVISED THE CONTRACTING OFFICE THAT YOUR OFFER WAS ADEQUATE FOR PROCUREMENT. THE AIR MATERIEL AREA ADVISED THE CONTRACTING OFFICE THAT NO TESTS HAD BEEN CONDUCTED IN YOUR FILTER ELEMENT AND THAT THEREFORE IT WAS NOT CONSIDERED ACCEPTABLE.

B-153753, JUN. 17, 1964

TO AMERICAN FILTRATION CO.:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 17, 1964, PROTESTING THE REJECTION OF YOUR PROPOSAL SUBMITTED UNDER REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS NO. DSA-7 -64-NEG-1191 ISSUED BY THE DEFENSE CONSTRUCTION SUPPLY CENTER, COLUMBUS, OHIO, ON JANUARY 20, 1964.

PROPOSALS WERE INVITED FOR FURNISHING, F.O.B. CERTAIN DESTINATION IN THE UNITED STATES, 3,759 ITEMS DESIGNATED AS FSN 4330-791-5185, FILTER ELEMENT, PERMANENT FILTER CORPORATION PART NO. 15123, FOR USE WITH FILTER SEPARATOR, LIQUID FUEL, TRUCK MOUNTED.

ONLY TWO PROPOSALS WERE RECEIVED. YOUR FIRM OFFERED TO FURNISH YOUR PART NO. 15123 AT $5.29 EACH, OR A TOTAL OF $19,885.11. THE PERMANENT FILTER CORPORATION OFFERED TO FURNISH THE FILTER SPECIFIED IN THE REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS AT $10.08 EACH, OR A TOTAL OF $37,890.72. YOUR QUOTATION WAS ACCOMPANIED BY A LETTER DATED FEBRUARY 1, 1964, WHICH INDICATED THAT YOUR EMPLOYEES WERE FAMILIAR WITH THE ITEMS IN QUESTION AS MANY OF THEM WERE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE MANUFACTURE OF THE ITEM WHILE EMPLOYED BY THE PERMANENT FILTER CORPORATION. YOUR PROPOSAL WAS REFERRED TO THE WARNER ROBINS AIR MATERIEL AREA, ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, GEORGIA, FOR EVALUATION AS TO ACCEPTABILITY. BY LETTER DATED FEBRUARY 12, 1964, THE AIR MATERIEL AREA ADVISED THE CONTRACTING OFFICE THAT YOUR OFFER WAS ADEQUATE FOR PROCUREMENT. HOWEVER, BEFORE AN AWARD COULD BE MADE, WARNER ROBINS REQUESTED RESUBMISSION OF THE DRAWINGS AND DATA FOR FURTHER EVALUATION. ON MARCH 12, 1964, THE AIR MATERIEL AREA ADVISED THE CONTRACTING OFFICE THAT NO TESTS HAD BEEN CONDUCTED IN YOUR FILTER ELEMENT AND THAT THEREFORE IT WAS NOT CONSIDERED ACCEPTABLE. IT IS UNDERSTOOD THAT AWARD OF THE CONTRACT TO PERMANENT FILTER CORPORATION HAS BEEN MADE.

IN YOUR LETTER OF PROTEST YOU STATE THAT THE TYPE OF FILTER BEING PROCURED HAS NEVER BEEN TESTED AND THE PROPOSAL DID NOT SPECIFY THAT A TEST WAS REQUIRED. ALSO, YOU INDICATE THAT THERE IS NO NECESSITY FOR THE TESTING OF A FILTER IN THE THIRD STAGE OF A THREE STAGE REFUELING TRAILER SINCE THE "FIRST STAGE, WHICH IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE THIRD STAGE, DID NOT REQUIRE ANY TEST.'

THE CONTRACTING OFFICER HAS MADE A DETERMINATION IN THIS CASE THAT, PURSUANT TO 10 U.S.C. 2304 (A) (10) AND PARAGRAPH 3-210.2 (XV) OF THE ARMED SERVICES PROCUREMENT REGULATION, THE PROCUREMENT OF THE INVOLVED FILTER ELEMENTS BY FORMAL ADVERTISING WAS IMPRACTICABLE BECAUSE TECHNICAL DATA WAS NOT AVAILABLE TO USE FOR COMPETITIVE PROCUREMENT; THAT THE PARTS ARE TO BE USED AS REPLACEMENT PARTS FOR SPECIALLY DESIGNED EQUIPMENT; AND THAT IS IS IMPOSSIBLE TO DRAFT SPECIFICATIONS OR ADEQUATE DATA WHICH WILL ASSURE CONTINUITY OF OPERATION OF THE EQUIPMENT. THE NECESSITY OF TESTS OF THE FILTER ELEMENTS TO BE PROCURED AND THE URGENT NEED FOR THE FILTER ELEMENTS WHICH COULD NOT AWAIT THE PERFORMANCE OF TESTS IN THIS CASE WERE DISCUSSED IN A COMMUNICATION DATED MARCH 31, 1964, FROM THE AIR MATERIEL AREA, AS FOLLOWS:

"1. THE FILTER/SEPARATOR ELEMENT IN QUESTION IS A FIBERGLAS PRODUCT USED ON THE AS/32R-4 FILTER SEPARATOR VEHICLE MANUFACTURED BY PERMANENT FILTER CORPORATION. IT PROVIDES THE LAST STAGE OF FILTRATION BEFORE FUEL IS DISPENSED TO THE AIRCRAFT. ITS FUNCTION IS TO COALESCE EMULSIFIED WATER AND TO REMOVE CONTAMINANTS FROM THE FUEL. EACH FILTER STAGE (ONE THROUGH THREE) ON THE AS/32R-4 VEHICLE PROVIDES A PROGRESSIVELY FINER DEGREE OF FILTRATION; THEREFORE, THE ORDER OF IMPORTANCE IS EXACTLY OPPOSITE TO THAT STATED IN PARAGRAPH FOUR OF THE LETTER FROM AMERICAN FILTRATION COMPANY. THE INTEGRITY OF THIS THIRD AND LAST STAGE IS CRITICAL SINCE THE PASSAGE OF WATER OR CONTAMINANTS, OR THE MIGRATION OF FILTER MATERIAL INTO THE FUEL, CAN RESULT IN LOSS OF AIRCRAFT AND/OR LIVES.

"2. IT IS AIR FORCE POLICY AND AN ABSOLUTE NECESSITY THAT ALL FILTRATION EQUIPMENT ASSOCIATED WITH AIRCRAFT SYSTEMS MUST BE TESTED AND APPROVED BE THE RESPONSIBLE ENGINEERING OFFICE BEFORE BEING PLACED IN SERVICE. THE SYSTEMS ENGINEERING GROUP (AFSC) HAS ADVISED THAT THE AMERICAN FILTRATION HAS NOT BEEN TESTED OR APPROVED AS A SUBSTITUTE FOR THE PERMANENT FILTER CORPORATION PART NR 15123. THE INITIAL QUANTITY OF THE PERMANENT FILTER CORPORATION ITEM WAS TESTED AND APPROVED AS A COMPONENT OF THE AS/32R-4 VEHICLE. APPLICABLE SPECIFICATIONS ARE EXHIBIT THREE OF CONTRACT AF33 (600) 38613, AND MIL F-8508 AS AMENDED.

"3. THE ORIGINAL WRAMA APPROVAL OF THE AMERICAN FILTRATION COMPANY'S PRODUCT WAS IN ERROR DUE TO AN OVERSIGHT REGARDING THE ABSENCE OF TESTING QUALIFICATION. IMMEDIATELY UPON BECOMING AWARE OF THIS ERROR, APPROVAL WAS WITHDRAWN, WHICH WAS MANDATORY. INFORMATION THAT THE AMERICAN FILTRATION COMPANY'S ITEM WAS NOT A QUALIFIED PRODUCT WAS INITIALLY FURNISHED TO WRAMA BY A REPRESENTATIVE OF THE PERMANENT FILTER CORPORATION; HOWEVER, IT CANNOT BE TOO STRONGLY EMPHASIZED THAT THE INFORMATION WAS FURNISHED ONLY AS A MATTER OF INTEREST, AND THAT ABSOLUTELY NO PRESSURE OR INFLUENCE WAS INVOLVED.

"4. WRAMA IS CURRENTLY IN A ZERO SUPPORT POSITION FOR THIS FILTER ELEMENT, FSN 4330-791-5185, WITH 4,682 EACH ON BACKORDER. THREE EMERGENCY PROCUREMENT ACTIONS HAVE BEEN INITIATED DURING THE PAST 15 DAYS TO PRECLUDE CLOSING DOWN MV2 REFUELING VEHICLE OPERATIONS. IT IS IMPERATIVE THAT THE EARLIEST POSSIBLE DELIVERY BE MADE ON THIS ITEM. THE IDENTITY OF THE SUCCESSFUL BIDDER IS NOT OF PRIMARY IMPORTANCE IF AN APPROVED PRODUCT IS FURNISHED WITHOUT UNDUE DELAY. ENGINEERING APPROVAL IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE SYSTEMS ENGINEERING GROUP, RESEARCH AND TECHNOLOGY DIVISION, AFSC, WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB, OHIO.'

THE HEADQUARTERS, DEFENSE SUPPLY AGENCY, IN A REPORT DATED MAY 12, 1964, STATED THAT THE USING AGENCY IS BEING QUERIED REGARDING THE STEPS THAT CAN BE TAKEN TO PROVIDE FOR THE CONDUCT OF TESTING TO DETERMINE THE ACCEPTABILITY OF OTHER FILTERS FOR FUTURE PROCUREMENTS.

IN VIEW OF THE DETERMINATION BY THE USING AGENCY THAT THE THIRD OR LAST STAGE OF FILTRATION IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT FROM THE STANDPOINT OF POSSIBLE LOSS OF AIRCRAFT AND/OR LIVES AND THAT TIME WOULD NOT PERMIT OF THE DELAY INCIDENT TO TESTS, WE WOULD NOT BE REQUIRED TO OBJECT TO THE AWARD OF THE CONTRACT TO THE PERMANENT FILTER CORPORATION. AS ABOVE STATED, IT APPEARS THAT STEPS WILL BE TAKEN TO PROVIDE TESTS TO DETERMINE THE ACCEPTABILITY OF OTHER FILTERS FOR FUTURE PROCUREMENTS.