Non-Developmental Airlift Aircraft (NDAA)
In March 1994, DOD (at congressional direction) established a Non-Developmental Airlift Aircraft (NDAA) program to procure a transport aircraft using commercial practices as a possible alternative or supplement to the C-17. DC-10-30, L-1011 and B-747-100/200 configurations were evaluated for the Non Developmental Airlift Aircraft (NDAA) program requirements which were defined by the Air Force. The NDAA program was initiated after the C-17 program was temporarily capped at a 40-aircraft buy pending further evaluation of C-17 cost and performance and an assessment of commercial airlift alternatives.
NDAA was originally developed in the early nineties due to poor cost and schedule performance during phase two, engineering and manufacturing development, of the C-17 acquisition. Forty C-17s were being built for phase two; and due to problems, alternatives were sought with respect to the remaining 80 aircraft.
Government and industry involvement in over 90 hours of meetings produced a streamlined NDAA RFP that represents a giant step forward in commercializing Government requirements. Although eight companies or teams expressed interest in providing a commercial NDAA, only one, the Boeing Company, responded to a request for proposal. Boeing proposed two variations of its 747-400F - one that included an enlarged door and a strengthened floor and an unmodified version. The Air Force named the aircraft proposed by Boeing the C-33. DOD also obtained information from the Lockheed Martin Corporation on costs for an upgraded version of the C-5, a C-5D model with improved avionics and significantly improved reliability and maintainability.
On May 02, 1995 Undersecretary of Defense Paul Kaminski announced approval of a regulatory relief package for the Non-developmental Airlift Aircraft (NDAA) pilot program. This regulatory relief was incorporated into the recently released NDAA Request for Proposal (RFP), which solicited industry for a commercial airlift aircraft as a potential supplement to the C-17. Proposals must be submitted to the Air Force by May 30, 1995.
The Federal Acquisition Streamlining Act of 1994 designated NDAA (under the umbrella of Commercial Derivative Aircraft) as one of five Defense Acquisition Pilot Programs. The law encourages the extensive use of commercial practices, relying on industry expertise and established procedures, rather than imposing traditional government requirements and specifications. Unlike previous tailoring approaches to RFP streamlining, the NDAA RFP began as a commercial-style document and added in military requirements only when absolutely necessary. The RFP incorporated all applicable statutory relief contained within the streamlining law, plus 30 additional regulatory waivers granted by DoD and the Air Force. The streamlined, 175-page RFP specifies the requirements for both the aircraft system and contractor logistics support (CLS) of that system.
In October 1995, DOD convened a Defense Acquisition Board (DAB) to determine whether the C-17 program should be continued beyond 40 aircraft, and if so, what mix of additional C-17s and NDAA should be procured.1 In November 1995, the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Technology announced that as a result of the DAB review, DOD planned to procure 80 more C-17s for a total of 120 and not to purchase any NDAA aircraft.
The decision to acquire 120 C-17s and no NDAA was based on the DAB's conclusion that 120 C-17s would provide a greater degree of flexibility at an increased cost of only $300 million over the mixed fleet option the DAB considered acceptable-100 C-17s and 18 C-33s (modified Boeing 747-400Fs). Specifically, the DAB found that the 120 C-17 option would (1) provide a hedge against the potential reductions in the amount of cargo delivered due to such things as reduced airfield availability, ramp space, and services and (2) maximize the benefits provided by the military capabilities of the C-17, which are not possessed by the C-33 (a commercial air transport).
On November 03, 1995 Deputy Secretary of Defense John White announced that the McDonnell Douglas C-17 Globemaster III will continue to be acquired as the Defense Department's core airlifter. The decision to plan, program and budget for the 120 C-17s culminated a series of Defense Acquisition Board (DAB) meetings and signaled the end of a two-year probationary period for McDonnell Douglas. The production contract is valued at approximately $18 billion.
The Acquisition Decision Memorandum (ADM) signed by Paul Kaminski, under secretary of defense for acquisition and technology and DAB chairman, follows two days of intense discussion in the Defense Acquisition Board. The ADM directed the Air Force to obtain multi-year procurement options for a buy in lots of 120 C-17s or 86 C-17s through the Future Years Defense Program (FYDP). The 86 option would be at a reduced procurement rate to insure program stability and could serve to be the first multi-year procurement increment of the C-17 program. It also deferred further effort on a modified Boeing 747-400 Non-Developmental Airlift Aircraft (NDAA), until completion of Civil Reserve Air Fleet (CRAF) enhancement studies due in June 1996.
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