Educational Computer Corporation, B-221276

Decision Date07 March 1986
Docket NumberB-221276
CourtComptroller General of the United States

Contracts - modification - change orders - propriety digest: 1. Contracting agency's plan to acquire aircraft maintenance training equipment under an existing contract for development and production of the aircraft is proper where the contract provides for issuance of change orders for production of the training equipment by the contractor. Since acquisition of the equipment directly from the contractor was authorized, it also was proper for the agency to allow the contractor to select a subcontractor to produce the equipment. Contracts - modification - scope of contract requirement 2. Contracting agency is not required to conduct a separate procurement for aircraft maintenance training equipment where production of the equipment is within the scope of the existing contract for development and production of the aircraft. Contracts - subcontracts - propriety - subcontracting practices of contractor 3. Contracting agency had a reasonable basis for its decision to allow the contractor under an existing contract for aircraft production to select a subcontractor to produce the maintenance training equipment for the aircraft where agency reasonably concluded that high degree of coordination necessary to ensure system compatibility was best achieved through a prime contractor/subcontractor arrangement.

Educational Computer Corporation (ECC) protests the air force's decision to acquire aircraft maintenance training equipment under a contract with mcdonnell douglas aircraft Corp.For the design, development and testing of the f-15e aircraft weapons system. The protester contends that the air force should conduct a competitive procurement for the training equipment rather than acquire it under the contract with mcdonnell.

We deny the protest.

The contract for development of the f-15e aircraft was awarded to mcdonnell in March 1985. Section 2120 of the contract in part called for mcdonnell to conduct development studies for aircraft maintenance trainers (amts), freestanding devices with related software and accessories to be used for maintenance training for the f-15e avionics, power plant and lighting systems. The contract provided that mcdonnell's development studies were to be used to prepare engineering change proposals (ecps) under the contract for the "design, development and production or retrofit" of training equipment for the f-15e.

According to the air force, before the f-15e contract was awarded to mcdonnell, the air force began studying whether any components of the F 15e system should be broken out from the basic contract for separate acquisition. As part of this effort, the air force published a notice in the commerce business daily on July 15, 1985, asking interested firms to submit information on design and production of the amts. The notice stated that it was issued "for planning purposes only and does not constitute a commitment by the government." Responses were received from 26 firms.

At the same time, mcdonnell briefed the air force on the results of its development studies for the training equipment. Mcdonnell's position was that breaking out the amts as a separate procurement was not feasible due to the preliminary stage of development of the f-15e. Mcdonnell suggested that the amts be supplied by a mcdonnell subcontractor, to better allow mcdonnell to oversee integration of the amts with the f-15e system as it developed.

The protester states that in late September 1985, it learned informally that the air force had decided to allow mcdonnell to develop a technical data package (TDP) for the amts and then conduct a procurement for production of the amts by a subcontractor. In a letter dated October 4, 1985, the air force confirmed that mcdonnell had been requested to prepare a TDP and outline its plans for selecting a subcontractor to produce the trainers. The protester then filed a protest with the air force challenging its decision to acquire the amts through mcdonnell rather than as a separate procurement. After the air force denied the protest by letter of November 7, ECC filed a protest with our office.

Ecc argues that acquisition of...

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