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INC.: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR TELEGRAM AND LETTER OF MARCH 9 AND 16. PROTESTING AGAINST THE ACTION OF THE ARMY ELECTRONICS COMMAND IN RESTRICTING A PROCUREMENT FOR AN/PRC-77 RADIO SETS UNDER REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS PIIN DAABO5-67-R-1176 TO THE RADIO CORPORATION OF AMERICA (RCA) ON A SOLE-SOURCE BASIS PRIMARILY BECAUSE THE AN/PRC-77 RADIO SET IS AN IMPROVED VERSION OF THE AN/PRC-25 RADIO SET WHICH YOUR COMPANY IS MANUFACTURING UNDER A CONTRACT AWARDED AFTER A FORMAL ADVERTISEMENT FOR BIDS. THE ARMY ELECTRONICS COMMAND CONTRACTING OFFICER HAS ADVISED US THAT IMPROVEMENTS TO THE AN/PRC-25 RADIO WERE NECESSARY TO ASSURE COMPATIBILITY WITH A RADIO FREQUENCY AMPLIFIER WHICH WOULD EXTEND THE RANGE OF THE RADIO.

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B-161031, JUN. 1, 1967

TO BRISTOL ELECTRONICS, INC.:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR TELEGRAM AND LETTER OF MARCH 9 AND 16, 1967, RESPECTIVELY, PROTESTING AGAINST THE ACTION OF THE ARMY ELECTRONICS COMMAND IN RESTRICTING A PROCUREMENT FOR AN/PRC-77 RADIO SETS UNDER REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS PIIN DAABO5-67-R-1176 TO THE RADIO CORPORATION OF AMERICA (RCA) ON A SOLE-SOURCE BASIS PRIMARILY BECAUSE THE AN/PRC-77 RADIO SET IS AN IMPROVED VERSION OF THE AN/PRC-25 RADIO SET WHICH YOUR COMPANY IS MANUFACTURING UNDER A CONTRACT AWARDED AFTER A FORMAL ADVERTISEMENT FOR BIDS.

THE ARMY ELECTRONICS COMMAND CONTRACTING OFFICER HAS ADVISED US THAT IMPROVEMENTS TO THE AN/PRC-25 RADIO WERE NECESSARY TO ASSURE COMPATIBILITY WITH A RADIO FREQUENCY AMPLIFIER WHICH WOULD EXTEND THE RANGE OF THE RADIO. ALTHOUGH THE AMPLIFIER WOULD HAVE THE DESIRABLE EFFECT OF INTENSIFYING THE OUTPUT SIGNAL, IT WOULD ALSO HAVE THE UNDESIRABLE EFFECT OF INTENSIFYING UNWANTED SIGNALS. A PRODUCT IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM WAS INITIATED BY THE ARMY ELECTRONICS COMMAND TO MEET THE PROBLEM AND ALSO TO IMPROVE RELIABILITY AND LOGISTIC SUPPORT BY A COMPLETE SOLID-STATE DESIGN AND ELIMINATION OF THE ELECTRON TUBE R-F OUTPUT AMPLIFIER.

ON MARCH 31, 1965, RCA WAS AWARDED A CONTRACT FOR THE REENGINEERING AND MODIFICATION OF 12 AN/PRC-25 SETS. THE CONTRACT WAS MODIFIED JANUARY 17, 1966, TO PROVIDE FOR INTERFACE FACILITIES WITH CLASSIFIED EQUIPMENT. THIS NEW REQUIREMENT WAS CONSIDERED TO AFFECT INTERCHANGEABILITY OF THE BASIC RADIO. AS A RESULT, A NEW DESIGNATION, AN/PRC-77, WAS ASSIGNED TO THE MODIFIED AN/PRC-25. THE CONTRACT WAS MODIFIED AGAIN ON APRIL 29, 1966, FOR OTHER SERVICES ON AN ADDITIONAL QUANTITY IN CONNECTION WITH THE CLASSIFIED PROGRAM.

THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE AN/PRC-25 AND THE AN/PRC-77 RADIOS ARE SUMMARIZED BY THE CONTRACTING OFFICER AS FOLLOWS:

"EXTERNALLY, THE AN/PRC-25 AND AN/PRC-77 RADIOS ARE IDENTICAL IN APPEARANCE WITH IDENTICAL PANEL CONTROLS AND EQUIPMENT CASES. HOWEVER, THE AN/PRC-77 IN ADDITION TO THE FUNCTIONAL CAPABILITIES OF THE AN/PRC-25, HAS SIGNIFICANT ADVANTAGES OVER THE AN/PRC-25 FOR OPERATION WITH R-F AMPLIFIER AM-4306 AND WITH CLASSIFIED EQUIPMENT. THE AN/PRC 77 IS OF COMPLETE SOLID-STATE DESIGN WHEREAS THE AN/PRC-25 UTILIZES ONE ELECTRON TUBE AS THE OUTPUT R-F POWER AMPLIFIER. THE ELIMINATION OF THE ELECTRON TUBE PERMITTED USE OF THE EXISTING FRONT PANEL POWER CONNECTOR FOR INTERFACE CONNECTION WITH THE CLASSIFIED EQUIPMENT. THE SOLID-STATE DESIGN ALSO PERMITTED THE ELIMINATION OF THE AN/PRC-25 POWER CONVERTER. RECEIVER R-F AMPLIFIER AND SQUELCH CIRCUITRY OF AN/PRC-77 PROVIDE SUBSTANTIAL IMPROVEMENT OVER THE ORIGINAL AN/PRC-25 DESIGN:

(1) THE RECEIVER IS LESS VULNERABLE TO DESENSITIZATION IN THE PRESENCE OF HIGH-ENERGY R-F FIELDS.

(2) RE-TRANSMISSION OPERATION HAS BEEN SUBSTANTIALLY IMPROVED.

(3) WIDE BAND OUTPUT CIRCUITRY HAS BEEN ADDED TO ACCOMMODATE INTERFACE WITH CLASSIFIED EQUIPMENT.

"IN THE TRANSMITTER PORTION OF THE AN/PRC-77, THE ORIGINAL AN/PRC 25 FREQUENCY CONTROL AND MODULATION SCHEMES WERE RE-DESIGNED. NOTABLY, THE SIDE-STEP OSCILLATOR, A MAJOR SOURCE OF SIGNAL INTERFERENCE WAS ELIMINATED.

"REDUCED SPURIOUS RADIATIONS HAS RESULTED IN A SIGNIFICANTLY LARGER NUMBER OF AVAILABLE OPERATING CHANNELS WHEN OPERATING WITH OTHER RADIOS. MODULATOR CIRCUITRY WAS ALSO ADDED, AGAIN TO ACCOMMODATE INTERFACE REQUIREMENTS WITH CLASSIFIED EQUIPMENT. OF THE TWENTY-FIVE (25) ELECTRONIC MODULES ORIGINALLY USED IN BOTH THE TRANSMITTER AND RECEIVER PORTIONS OF THE AN/PRC-25, ONLY EIGHT (8) OF THE MODULES USED IN THE AN/PRC-77 ARE INTERCHANGEABLE WITH THE AN/PRC-25.'

CONCERNING THE DIFFERENCES IN THE RADIOS AND THE UTILITY OF THE IMPROVEMENTS, THE CONTRACTING OFFICER HAS ADVISED:

"/1) COMPLETE SOLID STATE DESIGN OF THE AN/PRC-77 PERMITTED REMOVAL OF THE POWER CONVERTER AND USE OF THE EXISTING FRONT PANEL POWER CONNECTOR FOR INTERFACE CONNECTION WITH CLASSIFIED EQUIPMENT. IN REPLACEMENT OF THE ELECTRON TUBE POWER AMPLIFIER ADDITIONAL R-F DRIVER STAGES WERE REQUIRED. ACCORDINGLY, TWO (2) ADDITIONAL SECTIONS WERE ADDED TO THE VARIABLE TUNING CAPACITOR. MAXIMUM R-F POWER OUTPUT WAS INCREASED FROM 1.0 WATTS TO 1.5 WATTS IN THE HIGH-FREQUENCY BAND AND FROM 1.5 WATTS TO 2 WATTS IN THE LOW- FREQUENCY BAND. INPUT POWER WAS REDUCED APPROXIMATELY 1/2 OF THAT REQUIRED BY THE AN/PRC-25, INCREASING BATTERY LIFE CORRESPONDINGLY. WEIGHT WAS REDUCED BY APPROXIMATELY 1/2 LB.

"/2) TRANSMITTER FREQUENCY CONTROL GENERATION AND MODULATION SCHEMES WERE RE-DESIGNED, REDUCING THE NUMBER AND AMPLITUDE OF SPURIOUS RADIATIONS. THIS HAS RESULTED IN SUBSTANTIAL REDUCED RADIO FREQUENCY INTERFERENCE WHEN OPERATING WITH OTHER RADIOS. PREVIOUSLY, FREQUENCY ASSIGNMENTS IN WHICH THE RADIO COULD OPERATE HAD TO BE SPACED SUFFICIENTLY FAR ENOUGH APART TO ASSURE THAT ONE RADIO OPERATING ON A GIVEN FREQUENCY WOULD NOT INTERFERE WITH A SECOND RADIO LOCATED NEAR BY BUT OPERATING ON A SEPARATE FREQUENCY. THE REDESIGN OF THE RADIO HAD THE EFFECT OF DRASTICALLY REDUCING THE FREQUENCY SEPARATIONS PREVIOUSLY REQUIRED. THE ADDITIONAL FREQUENCY ASSIGNMENTS NOW AVAILABLE IN RE-TRANSMISSION OPERATION ARE OF PARTICULAR IMPORTANCE SINCE IT OFFERS GREATER SELECTIVITY TO THE COMMANDER IN A TACTICAL SITUATION IN HIS CHOICE OF CHANNELS OF COMMUNICATION AND ELIMINATION OF OVERCROWDED CONDITIONS ON THE LIMITED CHANNELS THEN AVAILABLE. OPERATION WITH R-F AMPLIFIER AM-4306 IS IMPROVED ACCORDINGLY WITH REDUCTION OF MUTUAL INTERFERENCE.

"/3) RECEIVER RADIO-FREQUENCY CIRCUITRY WAS RE-DESIGNED TO IMPROVE DESENSITIZATION CHARACTERISTICS WHEN OPERATING IN THE VICINITY OF HIGH ENERGY RF FIELDS. THE IMPROVEMENT IN THIS AREA AGAIN INCREASES THE NUMBER OF AVAILABLE FREQUENCY ASSIGNMENTS WHEN OPERATING WITH OTHER RADIOS. SQUELCH CIRCUITRY WAS ALSO RE-DESIGNED TO INCREASE SENSITIVITY AND TO PROVIDE IMPROVED RE-TRANSMISSION OPERATION. WIDE BAND AMPLIFIER AND INTERLOCK CIRCUITRY WAS ALSO ADDED TO ACCOMMODATE AN INTERFACE WITH CLASSIFIED EQUIPMENT.'

IT IS INDICATED FURTHER THAT BECAUSE OF THE ELECTRICAL AND MECHANICAL CHANGES TO THE MODULES AND MAIN CHASSIS OF THE AN/PRC-25 RADIO, TOOLING OR GAUGING FOR THE AN/PRC-25 COULD NOT BE USED IN PRODUCING THE AN/PRC-77 AND PHASING INTO AN EXISTING AN/PRC-25 PRODUCTION LINE WOULD NOT BE POSSIBLE AT THE PRESENT TIME.

THE AN/PRC-77 RADIO WAS APPROVED FOR LIMITED PRODUCTION BY THE OFFICE OF THE CHIEF OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT, DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY, IN JUNE 1966 AFTER EIGHT AN/PRC-77 PROTOTYPES WERE TESTED IN PLANT AND IN THE FIELD. THE TESTS DEMONSTRATED THAT THE RADIO MET THE REQUIREMENTS FOR REDUCED SPURIOUS RESPONSES AND RADIATIONS, IMPROVED RECEIVER PERFORMANCE WHEN EXPOSED TO HIGH LEVEL R-F FIELD RADIATION AND COMPATIBILITY WITH CLASSIFIED EQUIPMENT WHILE MAINTAINING THE RUGGEDNESS OF THE AN/PRC-25. THE TESTING IS SUMMARIZED AS FOLLOWS:

"/1) COMPLETE ELECTRICAL TESTING UNDER ROOM ENVIRONMENT.

"/2) MECHANICAL TESTING INCLUDING VIBRATION, BOUNCE, AND SHOCK TESTS.

"/3) ENVIRONMENTAL TESTING INCLUDING HEAT, COLD, AND HUMIDITY TESTS.

"/4) RADIO FREQUENCY INTERFERENCE TESTS.

"/5) FIELD TESTING INCLUDING COMMUNICATION RANGE TESTS.

"/6)RE-TRANSMISSION TESTING.

"/7) SYSTEM TESTING WITH CLASSIFIED EQUIPMENT.'

FOLLOWING THE APPROVAL OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY FOR AN INITIAL LIMITED PRODUCTION OF AN/PRC-77 RADIOS, THE FIRST PRODUCTION CONTRACT WAS PLACED WITH RCA ON JUNE 29, 1966. THERE WAS AN IMMEDIATE AND URGENT SOUTHEAST ASIA REQUIREMENT FOR THE RADIOS AND THE REQUIREMENT WAS ASSIGNED AN 02 PRIORITY DESIGNATOR. AS A RESULT, THE CONTRACT WAS NEGOTIATED UNDER THE AUTHORITY OF 10 U.S.C. 2304 (A) (2) AND ASPR 3 202.2 (VI). THE STATUTE AUTHORIZES CONTRACTS TO BE NEGOTIATED IF THE PUBLIC EXIGENCY WILL NOT PERMIT DELAY INCIDENT TO ADVERTISING. ASPR 3 202.2 (VI) PERMITS UTILIZATION OF THIS AUTHORITY WHEN A PURCHASE REQUEST CITES AN ISSUE PRIORITY DESIGNATOR 1 THROUGH 6. THE NEGOTIATION WAS RESTRICTED TO RCA BECAUSE PROCUREMENT DATA WAS NOT AVAILABLE FOR COMPETITION AND THE COMPANY AS THE DESIGNER OF THE RADIO WAS BELIEVED TO BE THE ONLY SOURCE CAPABLE OF FURNISHING THE SETS STARTING IN MARCH 1967 WITH COMPLETION BY SEPTEMBER 1967.

DRAWINGS AND DATA FROM THIS FIRST PRODUCTION CONTRACT ARE NOT EXPECTED TO BE DELIVERED TO THE GOVERNMENT UNTIL LATE 1967. THE CONTRACTING OFFICER HAS STATED THAT UNTIL SUCH TIME AS THE PRODUCTION DESIGN HAS BEEN VERIFIED BY FIRST ARTICLE TESTING, PROVEN OUT IN PRODUCTION, AND PRODUCTION DRAWINGS RELEASED, THE ARMY IS NOT IN A POSITION TO PROVIDE TECHNICAL DATA FOR COMPETITION. IN THE ABSENCE OF COMPETITIVE PROCUREMENT DATA AND IN VIEW OF THE CONTINUED PRIORITY FOR THE EQUIPMENT, SUBSEQUENT PRODUCTION CONTRACTS ALSO HAVE BEEN PLACED WITH RCA AS THE ONLY KNOWN SOURCE CAPABLE OF FURNISHING THE RADIO WITHIN THE REQUIRED TIME FRAME UNDER THE AUTHORITY OF 10 U.S.C. 2304 (A) (2) AND ASPR 3-202.2 (VI), CITED ABOVE. THE CONTRACTS, THE LAST OF WHICH WAS AWARDED ON APRIL 28, 1967, UNDER REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS PIIN DAABO5-67-R-1176, COVER PRODUCTION THROUGH MAY 1969 AND THESE CONTRACTS HAD THE ADVANCE APPROVAL OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY WHICH HAD EXTENDED THE INITIAL JUNE 1966 APPROVAL FOR LIMITED PRODUCTION IN OCTOBER AND DECEMBER 1966.

THE CONTRACTING OFFICER HAS FURTHER ADVISED THAT, BASED UPON CURRENT EXPECTATIONS OF THE RECEIPT OF DRAWINGS AND DATA FROM THE PRODUCTION CONTRACTOR, IT IS ANTICIPATED THAT A TECHNICAL DATA PACKAGE ADEQUATE FOR COMPETITION WILL BE AVAILABLE LATE THIS YEAR. AT THAT TIME, AN ADVERTISEMENT OF COMPETITIVE BIDDING ON A 3-YEAR MULTI-YEAR PROCUREMENT IS CONTEMPLATED. WHILE A COMPETITIVE PROCUREMENT IS PLANNED TOWARD THE END OF THE YEAR, IT IS INDICATED THAT PROCUREMENT LEAD TIME OF 20 MONTHS WILL HAVE TO BE PROVIDED TO ACCOMMODATE NEW SUPPLIERS AND THIS WILL RESULT IN INITIAL DELIVERY ABOUT AUGUST 1969, WHEREAS DELIVERY OF THE LAST PROCUREMENT IS REQUIRED STARTING IN FEBRUARY 1968. IT IS INDICATED THAT IF THE LAST PROCUREMENT WAS POSTPONED UNTIL THE ARTICLE COULD BE LET TO COMPETITION, THERE WOULD BE AN 18-MONTH DELAY IN INITIAL DELIVERY WHICH WAS NOT CONSIDERED JUSTIFIED IN VIEW OF THE PRIORITY FOR THE RADIOS.

THE INCREASE IN COSTS OF AN/PRC-77 RADIO SETS OVER AN/PRC-25 RADIO SETS IS JUSTIFIED BY THE ARMY ELECTRONICS COMMAND BASED ON THE FOLLOWING CONSIDERATIONS:

"/A) THE AN/PRC-77 RADIO SET CONTAINS MORE (AND MORE HIGHLY COMPLEX) COMPONENTS THAN THE AN/PRC-25 RADIO SET.

"/B) THE AN/PRC-77 EQUIPMENT CONTAINS NEW COMPONENTS AND SIGNIFICANT CHANGES TO EXISTING COMPONENTS BOTH OF WHICH RESULT IN MORE COMPLEX CIRCUITRY AND CHANGED OR NEW TEST SPECIFICATIONS.

"/C) THE NEW (OR CHANGED) COMPONENTS ARE BEING PRODUCED ON A FIRST TIME BASIS WHICH RESULTS IN ADDITIONAL START-UP COSTS AND HIGHER PRODUCTION COSTS (E.G. NEW TOOLING, NEW TEST EQUIPMENT, PLANT REARRANGEMENT, ADDITIONAL PRODUCTION AND OTHER ENGINEERING COSTS AS WELL AS INCREASES IN MATERIAL AND FACTORY LABOR COSTS).'

THE CONTRACTING OFFICER RECOGNIZES THAT RCA HAS A COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE SINCE IT IS THE SOLE PRODUCER OF THE AN/PRC-77 RADIO SETS. HOWEVER, HE EMPHASIZES THAT SUCH ADVANTAGE IS DUE STRICTLY TO THE CIRCUMSTANCES WHICH HAVE BEEN SET FORTH ABOVE.

AS INDICATED ABOVE, THE PROCUREMENTS FOR THE AN/PRC-77 RADIO SETS WERE NEGOTIATED UNDER THE AUTHORITY OF 10 U.S.C. 2304 (A) (2). SECTION 2310 (B) OF TITLE 10, U.S.C. SPECIFICALLY PROVIDES THAT ADMINISTRATIVE DECISIONS TO NEGOTIATE UNDER 10 U.S.C. 2304 (A) (2) ARE "FINAL.' THEREFORE, NO LEGAL BASIS EXISTS TO OBJECT TO THE SUBJECT PROCUREMENTS. HOWEVER, IN VIEW OF THE REPRESENTATIONS MADE BY THE PROCUREMENT AGENCY IT WOULD APPEAR THAT AN/PRC-77 RADIO SETS WILL BE PROCURED BY THE END OF THIS YEAR UNDER COMPETITIVE PROCEDURES.

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