Should the Navy Reverse McDonnell Douglas Corporation's Award to the F-18 Ejection Seat Contract?
PSAD-77-99: Published: Apr 11, 1977. Publicly Released: Apr 11, 1977.
- Full Report:
The F-18 aircraft prime contractor, McDonnell Douglas Corporation, awarded subcontract to Martin-Baker Ltd. (M-B) a British firm, to develop the ejection seat for the F-18 aircraft, reversing the original intention to buy the seats from the Stencel Aero Engineering Corporation of Asheville, North Carolina.
The basis of the award was questionable and it may not have been in the best interest of the government. McDonnell's evaluation of procurement offers found Stencel Corporation's seat to be technically superior, but M-B was selected for the lower price. M-B was granted deviations from specifications in five important areas, and its seat will require a 40-percent redesign, as opposed to 15 percent for Stencel. M-B's lower price for development will be more than offset by increased support costs. In the past, M-B also refused to provide adequate cost data or allow audits.
Recommendation for Executive Action
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Recommendation: The Navy should reexamine this procurement. Specifically, it should conduct an independent technical evaluation and a comprehensive life cycle cost analysis of the two proposals. Attention should be paid to the waivers given M-B that relate to the aircraft mission and safety of the crew, especially ejection height and stability after ejection. Past difficulties in getting M-B data should be considered, and also the need for a domestic source for this item.