B-172946(2), DEC 23, 1971

B-172946(2): Dec 23, 1971

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OF WHAT CONSTITUTES A "COMPETITIVE RANGE" WITH RESPECT TO THE EVALUATION OF TECHNICAL PROPOSALS IS PRIMARILY ONE OF ADMINISTRATIVE DISCRETION WHICH GAO WILL NOT QUESTION WHERE. THERE IS NO ABUSE OF DISCRETION. AWARD WAS MADE TO EDMAC ASSOCIATES. PROPOSALS WERE TO BE SUBMITTED BY MARCH 26. EACH OFFEROR WAS REQUIRED TO PROVIDE SOLUTIONS TO TECHNICAL PROBLEMS EXISTING IN THE SERVICE TEST MODEL OF THE AN/ARR-75. ALTHOUGH FIVE PROPOSALS WERE RECEIVED IN RESPONSE TO THE SOLICITATION. WERE DETERMINED TO BE TECHNICALLY ACCEPTABLE. WERE DETERMINED TO CONTAIN MAJOR DEFICIENCIES AND. WERE NOT WITHIN THE COMPETITIVE RANGE. THESE OFFERORS WERE NOTIFIED OF THE UNACCEPTABILITY OF THEIR PROPOSALS BY LETTER OF MAY 3.

B-172946(2), DEC 23, 1971

BID PROTEST - "COMPETITIVE RANGE" - EVALUATION OF PROPOSALS DENIAL OF PROTEST BY GENERAL DYNAMICS CORPORATION AGAINST THE AWARD OF A CONTRACT TO ANY OTHER OFFEROR UNDER AN RFP ISSUED BY THE NAVAL AIR SYSTEMS COMMAND, WASHINGTON, D.C., FOR 52 AN/ARR-75 RADIO RECEIVER SETS WITH ASSOCIATED EQUIPMENT AND DATA, INCLUDING AN OPTION FOR AN ADDITIONAL 25 SETS. A DETERMINATION, UNDER 10 U.S.C. 2304(G), OF WHAT CONSTITUTES A "COMPETITIVE RANGE" WITH RESPECT TO THE EVALUATION OF TECHNICAL PROPOSALS IS PRIMARILY ONE OF ADMINISTRATIVE DISCRETION WHICH GAO WILL NOT QUESTION WHERE, AS HERE, THERE IS NO ABUSE OF DISCRETION. SEE 48 COMP. GEN. 314, 317-18 (1968).

TO GENERAL DYNAMICS CORPORATION:

WE REFER TO YOUR TELETYPE AND LETTER OF MAY 20, 1971, AND SUBSEQUENT CORRESPONDENCE, PROTESTING AGAINST THE AWARD OF A CONTRACT TO ANY OTHER OFFEROR UNDER REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS (RFP) N00019-71-R-0120, ISSUED BY THE NAVAL AIR SYSTEMS COMMAND (NAVAIR), WASHINGTON, D.C. AWARD WAS MADE TO EDMAC ASSOCIATES, INC., ON JUNE 1, 1971.

THE SOLICITATION, ISSUED ON FEBRUARY 25, 1971, COVERED THE PROCUREMENT OF A FIRM QUANTITY OF 52 AN/ARR-75 RADIO RECEIVER SETS WITH ASSOCIATED EQUIPMENT AND DATA, INCLUDING AN OPTION FOR AN ADDITIONAL 25 SETS. PROPOSALS WERE TO BE SUBMITTED BY MARCH 26, 1971. IN ITS TECHNICAL PROPOSAL, EACH OFFEROR WAS REQUIRED TO PROVIDE SOLUTIONS TO TECHNICAL PROBLEMS EXISTING IN THE SERVICE TEST MODEL OF THE AN/ARR-75, WHICH HAD BEEN DEVELOPED BY THE GENERAL DYNAMICS CORPORATION UNDER A PREVIOUS CONTRACT. THE PROPOSAL DESIGN HAD TO COMPLY WITH SPECIFICATION MIL-R- 81681(AS). ALTHOUGH FIVE PROPOSALS WERE RECEIVED IN RESPONSE TO THE SOLICITATION, AFTER TECHNICAL EVALUATION ONLY THE PROPOSALS OF THE RESDEL ENGINEERING CORPORATION AND EDMAC ASSOCIATES, INC., WERE DETERMINED TO BE TECHNICALLY ACCEPTABLE. THE OTHER THREE PROPOSALS, INCLUDING GENERAL DYNAMICS', WERE DETERMINED TO CONTAIN MAJOR DEFICIENCIES AND, CONSEQUENTLY, WERE NOT WITHIN THE COMPETITIVE RANGE. THESE OFFERORS WERE NOTIFIED OF THE UNACCEPTABILITY OF THEIR PROPOSALS BY LETTER OF MAY 3, 1971.

PRIOR TO NOTIFICATION OF UNACCEPTABILITY, GENERAL DYNAMICS SUBMITTED A CLARIFICATION OF ITS PROPOSAL BY LETTER DATED MAY 1, 1971, WHICH WAS SUBMITTED BY NAVAIR TO ITS TECHNICAL PERSONNEL FOR EVALUATION. UPON RECEIVING THE NAVAIR LETTER OF MAY 3, GENERAL DYNAMICS RESPONDED BY LETTER OF MAY 7, OBJECTING TO THE GROUNDS UPON WHICH THE FINDING THAT GENERAL DYNAMICS' PROPOSAL WAS NOT WITHIN THE COMPETITIVE RANGE WAS BASED AND CONTENDING THAT NEGOTIATIONS SHOULD BE CONDUCTED BETWEEN NAVAIR AND ITSELF UNDER THE RFP. THE LETTER OF MAY 7, LISTING THE PERTINENT MODIFIED AREAS OF GENERAL DYNAMICS' PROPOSAL AND ALLEGEDLY DEMONSTRATING THAT THE MODIFIED PROPOSAL MET THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE SOLICITATION, WAS SUBMITTED BY NAVAIR TO ITS TECHNICAL PERSONNEL FOR EVALUATION. AFTER REVIEW OF THE POINTS RAISED IN THE MAY 7 LETTER, THE TECHNICAL EVALUATORS CONCLUDED THAT THE GENERAL DYNAMICS' PROPOSAL WAS STILL NOT WITHIN THE COMPETITIVE RANGE. THAT REVIEW LED TO THE FOLLOWING CONCLUSIONS:

"2.(A) ***

"PAGE 2-15 AND 2-22 THE PHASE-LOCKED LOOP FREQUENCY SYNTHESIZER AND VOLTAGE CONTROLLED OSCILLATOR REDESIGNED WAS PRIMARILY CONCERNED WITH THE ELIMINATION OF THE 62.5 KHZ DITHER SIDEBAND THAT WAS THE PROBLEM IN THE STM. NO SIGNIFICANT IMPROVEMENT WAS PROVIDED TO ELIMINATE THE 125 KHZ SIDEBAND; NO DISCUSSION ON THE ELIMINATION OF THE 4 1/8 SPURRIOUS; NO IMPROVEMENT TO THE 5TH ORDER CROSS TALK BETWEEN ADJACENT RECEIVER BOOKS. IT IS ESSENTIAL THAT A SIGNIFICANT REDESIGN BE ACCOMPLISHED IN THIS AREA TO PROVIDE SPECTRUM PURITY.

"PAGE 2-32 AND 2-33 RECEIVER SENSITIVITY AND NOISE FIGURE ARE INTERRELATED PARAMETERS. TO ACHIEVE THE SPECIFICATION REQUIREMENT, A TOTAL SYSTEM DESIGN APPROACH IN THIS AREA IS NECESSARY TO MINIMIZE LOCAL OSCILLATOR SPURS, CROSS TALK AND MAXIMIZE ISOLATION BETWEEN STAGES. PROPOSED INSUFFICIENT IMPROVEMENT IS PROVIDED IN THIS AREA.

"PAGE 2-44 THIS STATEMENT IS NOT TRUE. THE BALANCED AUDIO OUTPUT IS DISCUSSED BUT 'A SINGLE ENDED IS SUGGESTED TO OVERCOME SIZE, WEIGHT AND POWER LIMITATIONS OF THE SPECIFICATION REQUIREMENT FOR UNGROUNDED BALANCE OUTPUT' BY TAKING THIS EXCEPTION IT IS EVIDENT THAT THE AN/AQA INPUT REQUIREMENT IS NOT UNDERSTOOD.

"PAGE 2-49 NEW COMPONENTS ARE APPLIED TO EXISTING STM CIRCUITRY BUT THIS IS A PEACE MEAL FIX. A SIGNIFICANT AMOUNT TOTAL SYSTEM CIRCUITRY REDESIGN IS REQUIRED.

"PAGE 2-50 THE BITE APPROACH PROVIDED INDICATES THAT THE AN/AQA-7 INTERFACE IS NOT UNDERSTOOD. ONE IMPROVEMENT PROVIDED IS THE ADDITION OF A FILTER TO ELIMINATE THE 8TH ORDER SPURIOUS SIGNAL. THE PROPOSED APPROACH WILL NOT PROVIDE THE REQUIRED RESULTS AND IS CONSIDERED UNACCEPTABLE.

"(B) IN REGARD TO THE PHASE LOCK LOOP DISCRIMINATORS, THE BASIC STM DESIGN IS USED, BUT TO ELIMINATE THE TEMPERATURE PROBLEM (IN THE STM), TEMPERATURE COMPENSATION IS THE STATED SOLUTION, BUT DETAILS AS TO HOW THIS WILL BE ACCOMPLISHED IS NOT PROVIDED AS REQUIRED BY THE RFP. G/D STATED THAT NADC WAS SUPPLIED ACTUAL TEST DATA REGARDING THE PLLD AS PART OF THE WORK PERFORMED BY G/D DURING THE DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE STM. THIS DATA IS INCOMPLETE, AND IN ADDITION IT CANNOT BE CONSIDERED AS SPECIFIC BY THE RFP. IF THIS DATA WERE CONSIDERED IT WOULD BE A DETRIMENT TO G/D'S PROPOSAL INSTEAD OF ASSISTING IT.

"(C) IN REGARD TO THE VARIOUS SPECIFICATION EXCEPTIONS THAT WERE TAKEN, TO PARAPHRASE G/D, THE TECHNICAL EXCEPTIONS TAKEN BY G/D IN ITS PROPOSAL WERE CAREFULLY EXAMINED (EVALUATED) IN THE PROPOSAL ON THE BASIS OF CURRENT AVAILABLE HARDWARE STATE-OF-THE-ART WITH CAREFUL REGARD TO PERFORMANCE NECESSARY TO MEET MILITARY OPERATIONAL REQUIREMENTS. THE EVALUATION RESULTS PERTAINING TO SPECIFIC EXCEPTIONS ARE STILL FIRM."

BOTH 10 U.S.C. 2304(G) AND PARAGRAPH 3-805.1(A) OF THE ARMED SERVICES PROCUREMENT REGULATION (ASPR) GENERALLY REQUIRE DISCUSSIONS WITH ALL RESPONSIBLE OFFERORS WHO SUBMIT PROPOSALS WITHIN A COMPETITIVE RANGE, PRICE AND OTHER FACTORS CONSIDERED. WE HAVE HELD THAT THE TERM "OTHER FACTORS" INCLUDES THE TECHNICAL ACCEPTABILITY OF PROPOSALS, 46 COMP. GEN. 606 (1967), AND THAT A DETERMINATION OF WHAT CONSTITUTES A "COMPETITIVE RANGE", PARTICULARLY WITH RESPECT TO THE EVALUATION OF TECHNICAL PROPOSALS, IS PRIMARILY ONE OF PROCUREMENT DISCRETION WHICH WE WILL NOT QUESTION WHERE, AS HERE, THERE HAS BEEN NO ABUSE OF DISCRETION. SEE 48 COMP. GEN. 314, 317-18 (1968); B-169671(1), (2), AUGUST 31, 1970.

BASED UPON OUR REVIEW OF THE RECORD, WE MAY NOT CONCLUDE THAT THE EVALUATION CONDUCTED UNDER PRESCRIBED CRITERIA WAS IN ERROR OR THAT THE DETERMINATION OF COMPETITIVE RANGE WAS UNWARRANTED. SEE B-170750(1), FEBRUARY 22, 1971.

ACCORDINGLY, YOUR PROTEST IS DENIED.