B-173421(1), SEP 22, 1971

B-173421(1): Sep 22, 1971

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GAO WILL NOT QUESTION THE AGENCY'S TECHNICAL OPINION IN THE ABSENCE OF CLEAR AND CONVINCING EVIDENCE OF ERROR. SUCH EVIDENCE IS LACKING IN THIS RECORD. IT IS BEING RECOMMENDED THAT A REVIEW BE TAKEN OF THE SPECIFICATIONS WITH A VIEW TOWARD BRINGING THEM IN LINE WITH PRESENT DATA AND TECHNOLOGY. TO DYNAMICS CORPORATION OF AMERICA: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF AUGUST 27. AWARD IS BEING WITHHELD PENDING OUR DECISION ON THE PROTEST. YOUR POSITION IS THAT PURCHASE DESCRIPTION CBC-PD-6115-330-2. YOU FURTHER ASSERT AS A RESULT OF TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCES DIESEL ENGINES ARE PRESENTLY OPERATING SUCCESSFULLY AT BMEP'S IN EXCESS OF 230 P.S.I. ASSERTS THAT THE BMEP RATIO OF 2 TO 1 IS BASED ON THEORETICAL CALCULATIONS AND THAT THE EXPERIENCE OF GOVERNMENT AND INDUSTRY DOES NOT SUBSTANTIATE YOUR POSITION.

B-173421(1), SEP 22, 1971

BID PROTEST - RESTRICTIVE SPECIFICATIONS DENIAL OF PROTEST BY DYNAMICS CORPORATION OF AMERICA AGAINST THE AWARD OF A CONTRACT TO ANY OTHER OFFEROR UNDER AN RFP ISSUED BY THE NAVAL CONSTRUCTION BATTALION CENTER, DAVISVILLE, R. I., FOR DIESEL ENGINE DRIVEN GENERATORS AND ASSOCIATED SWITCHGEAR. WHERE A TECHNICAL DISPUTE ARISES IN THE CONDUCT OF THE CONTRACTING AGENCY'S RESPONSIBILITY IN IDENTIFYING AND ARTICULATING THE GOVERNMENT'S NEEDS, GAO WILL NOT QUESTION THE AGENCY'S TECHNICAL OPINION IN THE ABSENCE OF CLEAR AND CONVINCING EVIDENCE OF ERROR. SUCH EVIDENCE IS LACKING IN THIS RECORD. HOWEVER, SINCE IT APPEARS THAT THE SPECIFICATIONS MAY BE TOO CONSERVATIVE, IT IS BEING RECOMMENDED THAT A REVIEW BE TAKEN OF THE SPECIFICATIONS WITH A VIEW TOWARD BRINGING THEM IN LINE WITH PRESENT DATA AND TECHNOLOGY.

TO DYNAMICS CORPORATION OF AMERICA:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF AUGUST 27, 1971, AND PRIOR CORRESPONDENCE, PROTESTING AGAINST THE AWARD OF A CONTRACT TO ANOTHER OFFEROR UNDER REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS (RFP) N62578-71-R-0020, ISSUED BY THE NAVAL CONSTRUCTION BATTALION CENTER, DAVISVILLE, RHODE ISLAND, FOR DIESEL ENGINE DRIVEN GENERATORS AND ASSOCIATED SWITCHGEAR. AWARD IS BEING WITHHELD PENDING OUR DECISION ON THE PROTEST.

YOUR POSITION IS THAT PURCHASE DESCRIPTION CBC-PD-6115-330-2, SECTION 3.5.1, IMPOSED UNREALISTIC AND RESTRICTIVE LIMITATIONS ON THE BRAKE MEAN EFFECTIVE PRESSURE (BMEP) OF FOUR-CYCLE ENGINE SUPERCHARGED WITH INTERCOOLING (175 P.S.I.) WHEN COMPARED TO THE BMEP ALLOWED FOR A TWO CYCLE ENGINE TURBOCHARGED (120 P.S.I.). YOU ALLEGE THAT THESE SPECIFICATIONS, COMBINED WITH A LOW MAXIMUM FIRING PRESSURE, DISCRIMINATE IN FAVOR OF A TWO-CYCLE TURBOCHARGED ENGINE. YOU FURTHER URGE THAT THE SPECIFICATION SHOULD BE REVISED TO PERMIT A BMEP OF NO LESS THAN 230 P.S.I. AND A MAXIMUM FIRING PRESSURE OF 1,700 P.S.I.

IN SUPPORT OF YOUR POSITION, YOU REFER TO SEVERAL TECHNICAL MANUALS WHICH INDICATE A BMEP RATIO OF 2 TO 1 BETWEEN FOUR-AND TWO-CYCLE ENGINES, RESPECTIVELY. YOU FURTHER ASSERT AS A RESULT OF TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCES DIESEL ENGINES ARE PRESENTLY OPERATING SUCCESSFULLY AT BMEP'S IN EXCESS OF 230 P.S.I. THE PROCUREMENT FACILITY, ON THE OTHER HAND, ASSERTS THAT THE BMEP RATIO OF 2 TO 1 IS BASED ON THEORETICAL CALCULATIONS AND THAT THE EXPERIENCE OF GOVERNMENT AND INDUSTRY DOES NOT SUBSTANTIATE YOUR POSITION. THE NAVY POINTS TO THE CONCLUSION REACHED BY THE FEDERAL CONSTRUCTION COUNCIL IN ITS TECHNICAL REPORT NO. 42, ENTITLED "CONTINUOUSLY-OPERATED DIESEL ENGINES FOR ELECTRICAL POWER GENERATION." THIS REPORT INDICATES THAT THERE IS NO MATHEMATICAL CORRELATION BETWEEN SAFE BMEP LEVELS FOR TWO AND FOUR-CYCLE ENGINES AND RECOMMENDS A LIMIT OF 160 P.S.I. ON THE BMEP OF A FOUR-CYCLE SUPERCHARGED AND INTERCOOLED ENGINE. AND, THE NAVY NOTES THAT THE BMEP LEVELS CONTAINED IN THE PRESENT RFP ARE MORE LIBERAL THAN THOSE RECOMMENDED BY THE FEDERAL CONSTRUCTION COUNCIL.

IT HAS BEEN OUR CONSISTENT POSITION THAT WHERE, AS HERE, A TECHNICAL DISPUTE ARISES IN THE CONDUCT OF THE CONTRACTING AGENCY'S EXERCISE OF ITS PRIMARY RESPONSIBILITY IN IDENTIFYING AND ARTICULATING THE GOVERNMENT'S NEEDS, OUR OFFICE WILL NOT QUESTION THE CONTRACTING AGENCY'S TECHNICAL OPINION IN THE ABSENCE OF CLEAR AND CONVINCING EVIDENCE OF ERROR. CANNOT SAY THAT THE RECORD BEFORE OUR OFFICE DEMONSTRATES THAT NAVY'S POSITION IS IN ERROR; HOWEVER, WE DO BELIEVE THAT ITS TECHNICAL POSITION MAY BE TOO CONSERVATIVE IN LIGHT OF ADVANCEMENTS IN THE STATE OF THE ART. IN THIS REGARD, WE HAVE CONFIRMED THE VALIDITY OF YOUR CONTENTION THAT TECHNICAL REPORT NO. 42 IS "OUT OF DATE." THIS IS EVIDENCED BY THE FACT THAT THE FEDERAL CONSTRUCTION COUNCIL IN ITS RECENTLY ISSUED TECHNICAL REPORT NO. 60, ENTITLED "MEASURES FOR IMPROVING CRITERIA FOR CONTINUOUSLY OPERATED DIESEL ENGINES," HAS CRITICIZED THE CRITERIA IN TECHNICAL REPORT NO. 42 AS "PROBABLY CONSERVATIVE WITH RESPECT TO THE CURRENT STATE OF THE ART" AND HAS OBSERVED THAT THE "CRITERIA CURRENTLY USED BY AGENCIES ARE SUFFICIENTLY OUT-OF-DATE SO THAT INTERIM CRITERIA, DEVELOPED ON THE BASIS OF ENGINEERING KNOWLEDGE AND JUDGMENT, ARE BADLY NEEDED." ACCORDINGLY, WE ARE RECOMMENDING BY SEPARATE LETTER TO THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY THAT BEFORE FUTURE PROCUREMENTS ARE INITIATED A REVIEW OF THE IMMEDIATE SPECIFICATIONS BE UNDERTAKEN WITH A VIEW TOWARD BRINGING THEM IN LINE WITH PRESENT DATA AND TECHNOLOGY.