B-172367, JUL 13, 1971

B-172367: Jul 13, 1971

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AS THE AMOUNT OF THE CONTRACT WAS $1734 AND AS THE PROCUREMENT IS ONLY TO TEST THE VALIDITY OF THE SPECIFICATIONS. THE AWARD IS NOT SUBJECT TO REVIEW BY GAO. YOU MAINTAIN THAT THE COMPANY TO WHICH AWARD WAS MADE IN THIS INSTANCE WAS "NOT FAMILIAR TECHNICALLY" WITH THE ESCAPE SUIT IN QUESTION. YOU CONTEND THAT THE SOLE SOURCE AWARD WITHOUT THE SOLICITATION OF OTHER POTENTIAL SUPPLIERS WAS ERRONEOUS. THE NAVAL SUPPLY SYSTEMS COMMAND HAS ADVISED US THAT A PURCHASE ORDER WAS ISSUED ON JANUARY 21. THE COMMAND STATES THAT THE SUITS WERE DEVELOPED BY THE NAVAL AIR DEVELOPMENT CENTER. WE ARE ADVISED THAT THIS DEVELOPMENT PROCUREMENT IS FOR THE PURPOSE OF TESTING THE VALIDITY OF THE SPECIFICATION FOR ESCAPE SUITS DEVELOPED BY THE NAVY.

B-172367, JUL 13, 1971

CONTRACTS - SOLE SOURCE PROCUREMENT - AMOUNT BELOW $2,500 DENIAL OF PROTEST OF PIONEER PARACHUTE COMPANY, INC. AGAINST SOLE SOURCE AWARD OF A CONTRACT TO RUBBER FABRICATORS, INC. FOR 15 PROTOTYPE SUBMARINE ESCAPE SUITS BY THE NAVY AIR DEVELOPMENT CENTER. ARMED SERVICES PROCUREMENT REGULATIONS PERMIT AWARD OF CONTRACTS UNDER $2,500 ON A SOLE SOURCE BASIS. AS THE AMOUNT OF THE CONTRACT WAS $1734 AND AS THE PROCUREMENT IS ONLY TO TEST THE VALIDITY OF THE SPECIFICATIONS, THE AWARD IS NOT SUBJECT TO REVIEW BY GAO.

TO PIONEER PARACHUTE COMPANY, INC.:

YOUR LETTER DATED MARCH 26, 1971, PROTESTED THE SOLE SOURCE AWARD OF A CONTRACT BY THE NAVAL AIR DEVELOPMENT CENTER, WARMINSTER, PENNSYLVANIA, FOR 15 PROTOTYPE SUBMARINE ESCAPE SUITS DESIGNATED "EASE."

YOU STATE THAT A SUBSIDIARY OF YOUR COMPANY "INTRODUCED THE MARK VII SUBMARINE ESCAPE SUIT TO THE UNITED STATES NAVY" AND THAT YOUR COMPANY HAS FURNISHED ANCILLARY ITEMS RELATED TO THE ESCAPE SUITS UNDER SEVERAL CONTRACTS. YOU MAINTAIN THAT THE COMPANY TO WHICH AWARD WAS MADE IN THIS INSTANCE WAS "NOT FAMILIAR TECHNICALLY" WITH THE ESCAPE SUIT IN QUESTION, AND YOU CONTEND THAT THE SOLE SOURCE AWARD WITHOUT THE SOLICITATION OF OTHER POTENTIAL SUPPLIERS WAS ERRONEOUS.

THE NAVAL SUPPLY SYSTEMS COMMAND HAS ADVISED US THAT A PURCHASE ORDER WAS ISSUED ON JANUARY 21, 1971, TO RUBBER FABRICATORS, INC., FOR 15 OF THE ESCAPE SUITS IN QUESTION IN THE AMOUNT OF $1,734, OR $115.60 PER SUIT.

THE COMMAND STATES THAT THE SUITS WERE DEVELOPED BY THE NAVAL AIR DEVELOPMENT CENTER, WARMINSTER, PENNSYLVANIA, AND THE NAVAL SUBMERGENCE MEDICAL CENTER, NEW LONDON, CONNECTICUT, WHICH FACILITIES PERFORMED ALL DESIGN AND TEST WORK WITHOUT COMMERCIAL ASSISTANCE. IN JUSTIFICATION OF THE SOLE SOURCE AWARD TO RUBBER FABRICATORS, WE ARE ADVISED THAT THIS DEVELOPMENT PROCUREMENT IS FOR THE PURPOSE OF TESTING THE VALIDITY OF THE SPECIFICATION FOR ESCAPE SUITS DEVELOPED BY THE NAVY. RUBBER FABRICATORS WAS SELECTED AS THE ONLY FIRM THAT SHOULD BE SOLICITED. THE NAVY STATES THAT SUCH FIRM IS ON VARIOUS QUALIFIED PRODUCTS LISTS (QPL) FOR INFLATABLE PRODUCTS AND IS COMPLETELY FAMILIAR WITH THE HARDWARE, COATED FABRICS AND REQUIRED CEMENTING TECHNIQUES FOR EASE BY VIRTUE OF ITS SUCCESSFUL COMPLETION OF NUMEROUS CONTRACTS FOR THE STEINKE HOOD, ANOTHER ESCAPE APPLIANCE.

THE PROCUREMENT OFFICE HAS ALSO INDICATED THAT SHOULD THE ESCAPE SUITS NOW BEING PROCURED FOR TEST PURPOSES BE APPROVED FOR GENERAL USE BY THE NAVY, PROCUREMENT OF SUCH SUITS WILL BE ON A COMPETITIVE BASIS AFTER ISSUANCE OF A MILITARY SPECIFICATION AND ESTABLISHMENT OF A QPL, WHICH ARRANGEMENT WOULD GIVE YOUR FIRM AND OTHERS AN OPPORTUNITY TO BECOME QUALIFIED ESCAPE SUIT PRODUCERS.

IN VIEW OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE EXPLANATION FOR RESTRICTING THE PROCUREMENT TO RUBBER FABRICATORS AND INASMUCH AS THE ARMED SERVICES PROCUREMENT REGULATION REGARDING NEGOTIATION OF CONTRACTS IN AMOUNTS LESS THAN $2,500 MAKES PROVISION FOR SOLICITATION FROM A SINGLE SOURCE IN PARAGRAPH 3- 604.2(C), WE CONCLUDE THAT THE AWARD TO RUBBER FABRICATORS IS NOT SUBJECT TO LEGAL QUESTION BY OUR OFFICE.

THEREFORE, THE PROTEST IS DENIED.