[Protest of Air Force Issuance of Purchase Order for C-130 Aircraft Spare Parts]

B-219749: Oct 11, 1985

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A firm protested the Air Force's issuance of a purchase order to another firm under a basic ordering agreement for aircraft components, contending that: (1) the Air Force's determination that it could not produce the required items constituted a negative responsibility determination which should have been referred to the Small Business Administration (SBA) under certificate of competency procedures; and (2) the awardee's literature indicated that the required items could be produced from stock parts without using final assembly drawings that were only possessed by the awardee. The Air Force rejected the protester's proposal because of its concern that, without the drawings, the protester could not produce items compatible with other items in use. GAO held that: (1) the Air Force was not required to refer the matter to SBA because the matter of whether the protester could produce the required items was a question of technical acceptability rather than responsibility; and (2) the Air Force reasonably determined that the protester could not produce an acceptable product without the final assembly drawings. Accordingly, the protest was denied.