[Protest of Army Contract Award]

B-209323: Mar 31, 1983

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A firm protested an Army contract award for the development of a general purpose heavy machine gun under a request for proposals (RFP). The firm claimed that the contract award was improper because its proposal was technically superior to the awardee's. The protester asserted that the awardee's proposed cost was so low that it amounted to a buy-in. Consequently, the Army could not have applied the cost realism criteria called for in the RFP to the awardee's proposal. The protester also claimed that it was not informed of the Army's decision to award the contract until 3 days after other parties were notified. GAO held that: (1) the allegation that a firm is buying-in does not constitute a basis to preclude award to an otherwise acceptable offerer; and (2) where competing technical proposals are essentially equal, cost may become the determinative factor, even though cost was ranked as the least important evaluation factor in the solicitation. Accordingly, the protest was denied.

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