B-172954, JUL 19, 1971

B-172954: Jul 19, 1971

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PROTESTANT CONTENDS THAT THE SPECIFICATIONS ARE INADEQUATE IN THAT THEY OMIT CERTAIN CRITICAL INSPECTION CRITERIA AND THAT THE END PRODUCT WILL NOT PROVIDE ADEQUATE PROTECTION. DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY HAS INDICATED THAT IT HAS NO REASON TO DOUBT THAT THE SPECIFICATIONS WILL ASSURE THE PROCUREMENT OF AIRCRAFT ARMOR THAT WILL PROVIDE ADEQUATE PROTECTION. THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL WILL NOT OBJECT TO THE LEGAL SUFFICIENCY OF THE SPECIFICATIONS. TO NORTON COMPANY: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR TELEGRAM OF MAY 14 AND LETTER DATED MAY 20. IT IS REPORTED THAT ON FEBRUARY 19. QUOTATIONS WERE ORALLY SOLICITED UNDER SOLICITATION NO. QUOTATIONS WERE RECEIVED FROM YOUR FIRM. THE LOWEST QUOTATION ON THE HELICOPTER ARMOR WAS SUBMITTED BY THE CARBORUNDUM COMPANY.

B-172954, JUL 19, 1971

BID PROTEST - SPECIFICATION ADEQUACY DENIAL OF PROTEST BY NORTON COMPANY AGAINST THE ADEQUACY OF SPECIFICATION 1560-MULTI-001, CONTAINED IN RFQ NO. DAAJ01-71-Q 0318(P2E) AND IFB NO. DAAJ01-71-B-0406 (PIG) ISSUED BY THE U.S. ARMY AVIATION SYSTEMS COMMAND FOR SIDE ARMOR PANELS FOR HELICOPTERS. PROTESTANT CONTENDS THAT THE SPECIFICATIONS ARE INADEQUATE IN THAT THEY OMIT CERTAIN CRITICAL INSPECTION CRITERIA AND THAT THE END PRODUCT WILL NOT PROVIDE ADEQUATE PROTECTION. DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY HAS INDICATED THAT IT HAS NO REASON TO DOUBT THAT THE SPECIFICATIONS WILL ASSURE THE PROCUREMENT OF AIRCRAFT ARMOR THAT WILL PROVIDE ADEQUATE PROTECTION. CONSEQUENTLY, THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL WILL NOT OBJECT TO THE LEGAL SUFFICIENCY OF THE SPECIFICATIONS.

TO NORTON COMPANY:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR TELEGRAM OF MAY 14 AND LETTER DATED MAY 20, 1971, WITH ENCLOSURES, PROTESTING AGAINST THE ADEQUACY OF SPECIFICATION 1560-MULTI-001 CONTAINED IN REQUEST FOR QUOTATIONS (RFQ) NO. DAAJ01-71 Q- 0318(P2E) AND INVITATION FOR BIDS (IFB) NO. DAAJ01-71-B-0406(PIG), ISSUED BY THE UNITED STATES ARMY AVIATION SYSTEMS COMMAND, DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY, ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI. YOU ALSO PROTEST THE OPENING OF BIDS UNDER IFB -0406.

IT IS REPORTED THAT ON FEBRUARY 19, 1971, QUOTATIONS WERE ORALLY SOLICITED UNDER SOLICITATION NO. DAAJ01-71-Q-0318(P2E) FOR FURNISHING 46 SIDE ARMOR PANELS FOR HELICOPTERS IN ACCORDANCE WITH USAAVSCOM PROCUREMENT PACKAGE NUMBER 1560-OH58-056 WITH REVISION D, WHICH CONTAINED PERFORMANCE SPECIFICATION 1560-MULTI-001. THEREAFTER, A LETTER AND DATA PACKAGE FOLLOWED ON FEBRUARY 22, 1971, AND QUOTATIONS WERE RECEIVED FROM YOUR FIRM, THE CARBORUNDUM COMPANY, AND BELL HELICOPTER. THE LOWEST QUOTATION ON THE HELICOPTER ARMOR WAS SUBMITTED BY THE CARBORUNDUM COMPANY. IT IS REPORTED THAT BECAUSE OF THE URGENT NEED FOR THE ARMOR, HEADQUARTERS, UNITED STATES ARMY MATERIEL COMMAND, GRANTED AUTHORITY TO THE PROCURING ACTIVITY ON JUNE 10, 1971, UNDER ASPR 2-407.8(B)(2) TO MAKE AN IMMEDIATE AWARD UNDER RFQ-0318(P2E) PRIOR TO THE RESOLUTION OF THE PROTEST BY OUR OFFICE.

IFB-0406(PIG) SOLICITED BIDS FOR FURNISHING 187 OF THE ARMOR PANEL SIDES. THE SOLICITATION PROVIDED THAT BIDDERS MUST HAVE CONDUCTED GOVERNMENT TESTS PROVING CAPABILITY TO PRODUCE ARMOR, AS REQUIRED BY PROCUREMENT SPECIFICATION 1560-MULTI-001, PRIOR TO SUBMISSION OF BIDS. ALSO PROVIDED FOR FIRST ARTICLE APPROVAL, PRIOR TO PRODUCTION FABRICATION OF THE ARMOR PANEL SIDE. THE IFB WAS ISSUED ON APRIL 21, 1971, WITH A BID OPENING DATE OF MAY 12, 1971, BUT SUCH DATE WAS EXTENDED INDEFINITELY PENDING OUR DECISION ON YOUR PROTEST UNDER THE IFB.

YOU QUESTION THE ADEQUACY OF PERFORMANCE SPECIFICATION 1560-MULTI-001 CONTAINED IN BOTH RFQ-0318(P2E) AND IFB-0406. YOU CONTEND THAT THE TESTING REQUIREMENTS IN THIS SPECIFICATION ARE NOT ADEQUATE TO INSURE THAT THE GOVERNMENT WILL OBTAIN AIRCRAFT ARMOR SUITABLE FOR ITS NEEDS. LETTER OF MAY 20, 1971, YOU STATE THAT THE BASIS FOR THE PROTEST IS THAT TECHNICAL SPECIFICATION 1560-MULTI-001 IS INADEQUATE BECAUSE IT FAILS TO REFLECT A NUMBER OF CRITICAL INSPECTION CRITERIA. YOU LIST 13 INSPECTION STANDARDS WHICH YOU BELIEVE SHOULD BE INCORPORATED INTO THE SPECIFICATION, SUCH AS A REQUIREMENT FOR RADIOGRAPHIC EXAMINATION OF THE CERAMIC COMPONENTS OF THE SIDE ARMOR PANEL. YOU POINT OUT THAT PARAGRAPH 4.3.4.3 OF LP/P.DES 5-71, LIMITED PURCHASE DESCRIPTION FOR BODY ARMOR, SMALL ARMS PROTECTIVE, AIRCREWMAN, PROVIDES FOR RADIOGRAPHIC EXAMINATION OF THE CERAMIC COMPONENTS OF THE BODY ARMOR.

YOU CONTEND THAT THE OMISSION OF THE CITED CRITICAL INSPECTION CRITERIA FROM THE SUBJECT SPECIFICATION PERMITS ARMOR, A LIFE-CRITICAL ITEM, TO BE PROVIDED WHICH WILL NOT MEET THE END ITEM REQUIREMENTS. SINCE YOUR FIRM WILL NOT PROVIDE ARMOR WHICH IS UNSUITABLE FOR ITS INTENDED PURPOSE, YOUR FIRM IS AT A COMPETITIVE DISADVANTAGE IN BIDDING AGAINST COMPANIES THAT CAN TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE INADEQUACIES OF THE 1560-MULTI-001 SPECIFICATION. IT IS CONCLUDED THEREFROM THAT SINCE TRUE COMPETITION DOES NOT EXIST, THE SOLICITATIONS ARE IMPROPER.

AS INDICATED ABOVE, THE PROTEST IS DIRECTED AGAINST THE ADEQUACY OF THE TO OBTAIN SUITABLE AIRCRAFT ARMOR. APPARENTLY, YOUR FIRM WOULD BE ABLE TO COMPLY WITH THE SPECIFICATIONS, BUT DOES NOT CHOOSE TO DO SO BECAUSE IT DOES NOT BELIEVE THAT THE SPECIFICATIONS ARE SUFFICIENT FOR THE ARMOR TO PROVIDE ADEQUATE PROTECTION. THEREFORE, YOU BELIEVE THAT YOU ARE BEING PLACED IN AN UNFAIR COMPETITIVE POSITION BECAUSE THERE ARE FIRMS THAT ARE WILLING TO MEET THE INADEQUATE SPECIFICATIONS.

HOWEVER, THE ARMY HAS REPORTED TO OUR OFFICE THAT IT HAS BEEN UTILIZING THE SPECIFICATION FOR FIVE YEARS AND THAT BALLISTIC FAILURES OF AIRCRAFT ARMOR HAVE NOT BEEN REPORTED BY THE FIELD.

FURTHER, IT HAS BEEN REPORTED THAT ARMOR PANEL OF ANOTHER MANUFACTURER FURNISHED BY YOUR FIRM TO THE ARMY TO ILLUSTRATE THE SPECIFICATION DEFICIENCY WAS EXAMINED AND DETERMINED TO HAVE BEEN DEFECTIVE BECAUSE OF MISHANDLING AFTER FABRICATION. THEREFORE, THE ARMY HAS INDICATED THAT IT HAS NO REASON TO DOUBT THAT THE SPECIFICATIONS WILL ASSURE THE PROCUREMENT OF AIRCRAFT ARMOR THAT WILL PROVIDE ADEQUATE PROTECTION. HOWEVER, THE ADMINISTRATIVE REPORT INDICATES THAT THE ARMOR SPECIFICATIONS ARE CURRENTLY UNDER REVIEW AND THAT REVISIONS WILL EVENTUALLY BE MADE AND RELEASED TO INDUSTRY FOR EXAMINATION AND COMMENT. IN THE MEANTIME, THE ARMY HAS ADVISED THAT THE SUPPLY SITUATION IS SUCH THAT NO DELAY CAN BE TOLERATED UNTIL SUCH TIME AS A REVISED SPECIFICATION IS PREPARED AND COORDINATED WITH INDUSTRY. IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES, THE ARMY PROPOSES TO PROCEED WITH THE PROCUREMENT COVERED BY THE IFB. IN THESE CIRCUMSTANCES, WE WILL NOT OBJECT TO THE LEGAL SUFFICIENCY OF THE SPECIFICATIONS.

ACCORDINGLY THE PROTEST IS DENIED.