Federal contract opportunity FA9453-11-R-0260 for research and development in the physical, engineering, and life sciences (except biotechnology) at Air Force Materiel Command AFRL/RVKV - Kirtland AFB.

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Solicitation Number
FA9453-11-R-0260
Contract Number(s)
FA9453-11-C-0260
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27 Jan 11.  Subject effort was awarded on 24 Jan 11.  Since the original posting, there were no additional offerors.  

//Signed//
FRANCIS M. EGGERT
Contracting Officer

NOTE! This is a Notice Of Contract Action (NOCA)

COORDINATION AND APPROVAL DOCUMENT
(also known as Justification Review Document)


Contracting Activity: Firm Fixed Price Contract (Form 36)
Purchase Request/Local Identification Number: FA9453-11-R-0260
Project/Program Name (and Program Element, if applicable): Repair of Transmission Control Unit (TCU) the Wave-Induced Precipitation of Electron Radiation (WIPER) instrument for I&T to the Demonstration & Science Experiments (DSX) Spacecraft
Estimated Contract Cost (including options) - $ 40,351
Type Program: Other Contracting
Authority: 10 U.S.C. 2304(c)(3), as implemented by FAR 6.302-3(a)(2)(iii), Only One Responsible Source.
Type J&A: Individual
Reviewed and Signed By All Required.



JUSTIFICATION FOR OTHER THAN
FULL AND OPEN COMPETITION
I. CONTRACTING ACTIVITY


Agency and Contracting Activity: Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Space Vehicles Directorate (AFRL/RVE) has designed and matured the Demonstration and Science Experiments (DSX) program as an experimental space mission. This contractual activity is a repair effort for the Transmission Control Unit (TCU) which is a mission-critical element of the Wave-Induced Precipitation of Electron Radiation (WIPER) instrument, which was damaged during Integration & Testing (I&T) for the DSX spacecraft. The TCU was designed and developed under subcontracting efforts by Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) for the University of Massachusetts Lowell (UML), and the UML delivered the TCU and other WIPER components to the prime contractor, Stanford University. The TCU with the other mission-critical components of the WIPER instrument are expected to be launched on the DSX spacecraft, and it is currently on a critical-path for Integration & Testing (I&T) here at AFRL. This is a Justification for Other Than Full and Open Competition. At this time, we do not have a contract number.


II. NATURE AND/OR DESCRIPTION OF THE ACTION BEING PROCESSED


This action is expected to be awarded as a Firm Fixed Price (FFP) contract, with an estimated value of $40,350.00 with an expected award of January 2011 for a three-week period of performance from award. This repair effort is expected to support the DSX program, which currently has an expected launch date of October 2012.


The TCU, which was part of the Wave-Induced Precipitation of Electron Radiation (WIPER) contract, FA8718-05-C-0027, was awarded to Leland Stanford Junior University, 651 Serra St., Stanford, CA 94305; awarded 20 May 2005; end of performance date 30 Nov 2010; issued by AFMC ESC/PKR, Electronic Systems Center, Air Force Materiel Command, USAF, 104 Barksdale Street, Bldg 1520, Hanscom AFB, MA 01731-1806. The WIPER contract was subcontracted to University and Massachusetts Lowell (UML) who was responsible for the majority of the electrical design, but further subcontracted to SwRI for technical work associated with designing the network interface board within a critical portion of the WIPER payload, the TCU. Currently, no contractual relationship currently exists between SwRI and UML and Stanford University.


This repair effort is necessary for the continuing highly-specialized engineering services that are required for the WIPER payload as a major spacecraft system currently under spacecraft integration for the DSX program. If these services had to be re-competed there would be substantial and unacceptable delays in the DSX program, as any new contractor would need to be trained to demonstrate knowledge and a full skill set that is necessary for the continuing efforts associated with the WIPER payload. This includes but not limited to understanding of the history of the manufacturing efforts, full operation and testing procedures and all testing results, calibration methods, calibration procedures, and calibration verification techniques used for the payload. As such, an award to any contractor other than the damaged hardware contractor, SwRI, would significantly impact the current DSX program schedule, and may cause a stop work for all WIPER activities associated with the DSX program until the new contractor could clearly demonstrate the comprehensive knowledge necessary to provide the highly specialized engineering services required for AFRL to meet its mission objectives and obligations. The resulting delay is realistically estimated at approximately six (6) months, primarily impacting integration of the WIPER payload into the DSX spacecraft and other activities leading up to launch and operations of the spacecraft. It is estimated that integration of the DSX spacecraft would suffer delays up to four (4) months as the new contractor becomes familiarized with the design, interfaces and testing history of the WIPER payload. Additionally, this delay would likely result in a loss of DSX's launch manifest and place the mission's viability at risk.


Award of a sole-source repair contract to SwRI will ensure that the DSX program will not incur any unacceptable delays and unacceptable risk in meeting AFRL's requirements and obligations. Therefore, this acquisition is intended for the continued performance of the required highly-specialized services by the current contractor.


III. DESCRIPTION OF THE SUPPLIES/SERVICES REQUIRED TO MEET THE AGENCY'S NEEDS


SwRI will provide highly specialized engineering services that are necessary and pertain to the failure of the thermal epoxy bond under the Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) Integrated Circuit (IC) chip on the Analog board of the WIPER TCU. The FPGA and Analog board it is attached to were originally developed and integrated by SwRI. The description of the supplies/services required to meet the agency's needs is as follows:


To provide engineering and fabrication work to repair the analog board in the Transmitter Control Unit (TCU) of the Wave-Induced Precipitation of Electron Radiation (WIPER) instrument to be flown on the Demonstration & Science Experiment (DSX) spacecraft. This is due to a failure within the TCU during vibration testing likely related to the Eccobond 285 epoxy applied to the FPGA and analog board. The work will include analysis of the failure (answering a series of questions posed by the PMO), check & inspect other TCU boards, reprogram and install the new Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) on to the Analog board of the TCU, and return of the TCU back to AFRL in the flight configuration for further environmental and system testing. Due to environmental testing failure here at the Air Force Research Lab during Integration and Testing for the DSX Program, the Government is requesting a technical and cost proposal for continued essential risk reductions due to the failure of the thermal epoxy bond under the FPGA on the Analog board of the WIPER Transmitter Control Unit (TCU), which was developed and delivered under contract FA8718-05-C-0027.



IV. STATUTORY AUTHORITY PERMITTING OTHER THAN FULL AND OPEN COMPETITION


10 U.S.C. 2304(c)(1), as implemented by FAR 6.302-1, (a),(2) (iii), Only One Responsible Source, for a follow-on contract for highly specialized services, when award to any other source would result in substantial unacceptable delays.


V. DEMONSTRATION THAT THE CONTRACTOR'S UNIQUE QUALIFICATIONS OR NATURE OF THE ACQUISITION REQUIRES THE USE OF THE AUTHORITY CITED ABOVE (APPLICABILITY OF AUTHORITY)



The DSX Wave-Induced Precipitation of Electron Radiation (WIPER) team consisted of Stanford University (SU), prime contractor and subcontractors Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Center, University of Massachusetts, Lowell (UML) and Southwest Research Institute (SwRI). Under the Hanscom contract FA8718-05-C-0027, this team was established to design and construct the WIPER payload, providing very low frequency (VLF) radio wave receiving and transmitting capabilities to the DSX spacecraft. This capability represents the prime DSX mission.


The WIPER team was awarded the design/build contract via full and open competition based on their unparalleled combined experience and knowledge base in space hardware and VLF radio science. To date, SU has delivered the VLF Broad Band Receiver and UML has delivered the VLF transmitter and narrow band receiver. The latter consists of three components, a Transmission Control Unit (TCU) that has the integral narrow band receiver and two Tuner Amplifier/Tuning Units. UML was responsible for the majority of the electrical design; SwRI designed the network interface board within the TCU. SwRI built all the units at their manufacturing facilities in San Antonio, TX.


While undergoing random vibration testing at AFRL, Kirtland AFB, the TCU experienced a hardware failure that was traced to an analog board and specifically a Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA). The epoxy bond holding the FPGA to the analog electronic circuit board broke, thus allowing the FPGA to vibrate causing the FPGA electrical leads to break. Independent investigations and analyses have not been able to discover a root cause for the failure necessary to implement a high confidence repair. To continue the investigation, AFRL posed a number of questions to SwRI that only their manufacturing personnel and a review of their manufacturing records can answer.


SwRI is uniquely qualified to provide answers to how the board was manufactured, to investigate the root cause of the failure, and highly-specialized manufacturing capabilities critical to repair the TCU. Additionally, SwRI uses proprietary processes to develop and integrate the FPGA onto the analog board. Trying to obtain the appropriate permissions to share the required processes and information with another company could be very complicated, and cause the DSX program to miss the launch schedule on which it is currently manifested.


Without the services of SwRI, there is a high probability risk that AFRL/RV DSX program will be unable to accomplish the scientific objectives that have been reviewed and approved by the AFRL/RV commander. An award to any other contractor would significantly impact discovery of the root cause of the failure and the current DSX program schedule. The TCU failure has caused a stop work for all DSX spacecraft integration and test activities until such time as the TCU is repaired. An award to any other contractor could prevent the discovery of the root cause of the failure and would cause further delays until the new contractor can clearly demonstrate the comprehensive knowledge and capability necessary to provide the required services. The resulting delay is estimated at approximately 6 months, causing AFRL to miss delivery of a critical input to the launch vehicle integration process. Additionally, missing this delivery would likely result in a loss of DSX's launch manifest and place the mission's viability at risk.


Therefore, this acquisition is for the repair of the TCU as it relates to the other WIPER components, and thus, only SwRI can provide the highly-specialized manufacturing services that are needed to meet the mission-critical schedule for the DSX program.


VI. DESCRIPTION OF EFFORTS MADE TO ENSURE THAT OFFERS ARE SOLICITED FROM AS MANY POTENTIAL SOURCES AS DEEMED PRACTICABLE


On 16 December 2010, SwRI provided a Rough Order of Magnitude to the DSX Program Office. SwRI is the original developer and integrator of the failed hardware in question. Therefore, any effort made to solicit from any other organization was deemed impractical by the technical program office and contracting officer, and may significantly impact the I&T schedule for the DSX spacecraft in order to meet the expected October 2012 launch date. SwRI provides the exact expertise and experience to perform the required failure and engineering analyses, repair, and restorative work on the these particular FPGA IC chip and Analog board components.


VII. DETERMINATION BY THE CONTRACTING OFFICER THAT THE ANTICIPATED COST TO THE GOVERNMENT WILL BE FAIR AND REASONABLE


The contracting officer considers SwRI a responsible source pursuant to the Standards, FAR 9.104. In the past, SwRI has provided fair and reasonable prices for past contract actions executed against the WIPER contract FA8718-05-C-0027. The contracting officer anticipates using Price and Cost Analysis, and Cost Realism Analysis as a methods for determining fair and reasonable price on all proposals submitted by SwRI. The use of DCAA audits, technical evaluations, and other documentation to help the contracting officer determine fair and reasonable price. The contracting officer plans to consider cost and pricing data that clearly: (1) reflects fair market value or total allowable cost of performance by a well-managed, responsible contractor plus reasonable profit; (2) realistic in the university's (contractor's) ability to satisfy terms; (3) shows that the price that a prudent buyer would pay considering market conditions, requirements alternatives, and non-price factors is realistic; (4) uses a great deal of judgment of the data or resources obtain by the contracting officer to determine a fair and reasonable price; and (5) uses FAR 31.201-3, Determining Reasonableness, of the costs provided by the university for work proposed if, in its nature and amount, it does not exceed that which would be incurred by a prudent person in the conduct of a competitive business.


VIII. DESCRIPTION OF THE MARKET RESEARCH CONDUCTED AND THE RESULTS, OR A STATEMENT OF THE REASONS MARKET RESEARCH WAS NOT CONDUCTED


As described in Section V and VI above, market research was not conducted primarily because of the nature of the relationship of the developer and integrator to the failed hardware. The developer and integrator has first-hand knowledge and experience from developing and integrating the hardware to include engineering records and notes, samples of the original epoxy used to bond the FPGA to the Analog board, associated manufacturing documentation, and proprietary processes and information which is not easily shared with other companies.


IX. ANY OTHER FACTS SUPPORTING THE USE OF OTHER THAN FULL AND OPEN COMPETITION


Currently, there are no additional facts to support the use of full and open competition.


X. LIST OF SOURCES, IF ANY, THAT EXPRESSED INTEREST IN THE ACQUISITION


See Section VI above.


XI. A STATEMENT OF THE ACTIONS, IF ANY, THE AGENCY MAY TAKE TO REMOVE OR OVERCOME ANY BARRIERS TO COMPETITION BEFORE MAKING SUBSEQUENT ACQUISITIONS FOR THE SUPPLIES OR SERVICES REQUIRED


The Government will encourage other new companies to invest IR&D into this technical area and if the companies are willing to do so, the Government will consider funding future research efforts with these other companies.


XII. CONTRACTING OFFICER'S CERTIFICATION


The contracting officer's signature on the Coordination and Approval Document evidences that he/she has determined this document to be both accurate and complete to the best of his/her knowledge and belief.


XIII. TECHNICAL/REQUIREMENTS PERSONNEL'S CERTIFICATION


As evidenced by their signatures on the Coordination and Approval Document, the technical and/or requirements personnel have certified that any supporting data contained herein, which is their responsibility, is both accurate and complete.

Files
Package File Description
Unspecified J&A FA9453-11-R-0260 dtd 3 Jan 11 TCU to WIPER Repair.pdf J&A Redacted FA9453-11-R-0260 dtd 3 Jan 11 for TCU Repair for WIPER Instrum...
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