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Air Force cancels quest for C-17 engine sustainment

Nov. 19, 2013 - 06:00AM   |  
The US Air Force has canceled a solicitation for sustainment work on the engines of its C-17 transport fleet.
The US Air Force has canceled a solicitation for sustainment work on the engines of its C-17 transport fleet. (Boeing)
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WASHINGTON — The Air Force has canceled an open solicitation for sustainment work on the F117 engines that power the service’s C-17 transport fleet.

“The Air Force issued a competitive solicitation for F117 (C-17) engine sustainment in 2013, based on rigorous market research into industry capabilities to provide both engine overhaul and supply chain management,” Air Force spokesman Ed Gulick wrote in a press release announcing the decision. “The Air Force anticipated significant savings and preferred terms and conditions to be derived from the competition. Unfortunately, no viable offers were received.

“As a good steward of taxpayer dollars, the Air Force cannot justify continuing the acquisition and is canceling the existing F117 engine sustainment solicitations,” the statement continued. “We will be revisiting the strategy to develop an affordable approach to achieve both the near- and long-term goals of the Air Force, while ensuring continued war-fighter support for F117 engine sustainment on the existing C-17 Globemaster Integrated Sustainment Partnership until the revised strategy is implemented.”

In response to an inquiry, Gulick said the service has not yet set a timetable for an alternative approach.

The C-17 is powered by four F117-PW-100 jet engines, designed by Pratt & Whitney.

“We remain committed to the continued cost-effective support of our products in the field, and the mission readiness of our customers,” Matthew Bates, Pratt spokesman, wrote in an emailed statement. “For more than 15 years we have successfully met USAF requirements by increasing time on wing for the engines and by reducing life-cycle and operating costs. We will continue to provide dedicated support to the warfighter and maintain our strong partnership with the Air Force for engine overhaul and sustainment.”

A request for proposals (RfP) was issued for the sustainment contract on April 1, soliciting bids on a contract for “sustaining engineering support and technical services, depot supply chain management support, engine program administration support, and data affiliated with the services for the F117-PW-100 engines to maintain serviceable worldwide spare engine levels.”

The work would have occurred over a 21-month period starting in October 2014 and would have included five one-year options that could be picked up by the US government.

It’s been a tough week for the C-17, a large military cargo jet. At the Dubai Air Show, Boeing Defense Space and Security President and CEO Dennis Muilenburg confirmed to reporters that C-17 production will end in 2015.

Muilenburg cited U.S. defense spending cuts through sequestration and uncertainty as part of the reason for the decision.

“We can’t simply continue to keep lines open without clear, long-term production runs,” he said.

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