Protest of Air Force Contract Award for a Fixed-Based Weather Observation System

B-287032.3,B-287032.4: Apr 16, 2001

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Two firms protested an Air Force contract award for a fixed-based weather observation system, contending that the awardee's proposal should have been rejected as technically unacceptable because it was not, as required by the solicitation, certified by the Federal Aviation Administration or a foreign agency, at the time that proposals were due. GAO held that the Air Force (1) improperly relaxed a mandatory solicitation requirement for the awardee and (2) failed to notify the offerors of its changed requirements, thereby prejudicing the protesters because they could have proposed different systems if they had been apprised of the Air Force's actual requirements. Accordingly, the protests were sustained, and GAO recommended that the Air Force (1) amend the proposal to represent its actual needs concerning certification and resolicit the requirements, (2) terminate the contract and make award to another bidder, if otherwise appropriate, and (3) reimburse the protesters for their protest costs.