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AWACS DRAGON A-Kits Full Rate Production

Massachusetts, United States
Government : Military
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Request for Information for

Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS)

Diminishing Manufacturing Sources (DMS) Replacement of Avionics for Global Operations and Navigation (DRAGON)

 Full Rate Production Program

Delivery of A-Kits



E-3 Operational Capabilities Branch


3 Eglin St.

Hanscom AFB, MA 01731-2100


18 July 2019


Program Manager: Ms. Megan Kozacka

Contracting Officer: Capt Alexis Edwards


•1.0  Description
This is a Request for Information (RFI) as defined in FAR 15.201(e).  This RFI is issued in order to identify qualified sources for the E-3 Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) Diminishing Manufacturing Sources (DMS) Replacement of Avionics for Global Operations and Navigation (DRAGON) manufacturing and/or procurement of A-Kits and select B Kit Line Replaceable Units (LRUs).  In accordance with (IAW) FAR 52.215-3, Request for Information or Solicitation for Planning Purposes, this RFI is issued solely for information and planning purposes; it does not constitute a Request for Proposal (RFP) or a promise to issue an RFP in the future.  This RFI does not commit the Government to contract for any supply or service whatsoever.  Further, the Air Force is not at this time seeking proposals and will not accept unsolicited proposals.  Respondents are advised that the U.S. Government will not pay for any information or administrative costs incurred in response to this RFI; all costs associated with responding to this RFI will be solely at the interested party's expense.  Not responding to this RFI does not preclude participation in any future RFP, if any is issued.  If a solicitation is released, it will be synopsized on the Federal Business Opportunities (FedBizOpps) website. It is the responsibility of the potential respondents to monitor these sites for additional information pertaining to this requirement.


•2.0  Background & Description of Requirement
The E-3 AWACS, operated by the 552nd Air Control Wing at Tinker AFB, OK provides the Combat Air Forces with airborne systems and personnel for theater surveillance, warning and control of strategic, tactical and special mission forces. The AWACS DRAGON program replaces aging, predominantly analog, non-sustainable equipment with modern, digital avionics systems that provide for future growth and enhanced operation, safety and reliability while reducing life cycle costs.  Overall, this program uses a systems approach to aid pilot awareness and alleviate task saturation in high technology flight and combat environments.  The requirement to reduce aircraft separation and implement other Air Traffic Management (ATM) procedures while maintaining or improving safety standards is met by using available aviation technology currently used in commercial and military aircraft.  Essential technology elements of the new Communication, Navigation, Surveillance/Air Traffic Management (CNS/ATM) environment are satellite-based navigation, increased use of data links for pilot/controller communication, and improved surveillance to enhance flight deck situational awareness.  For the E-3 AWACS aircraft to operate in this new environment, replacement of 1970s vintage analog flight deck equipment with currently available modern digital avionics is required. 


DRAGON also replaces existing E-3 AWACS avionics with commercial off the shelf (COTS) avionics to maintain mission readiness being affected by significant Diminishing Manufacturing Sources and Material Shortages (DMSMS) impacts and to reduce life-cycle costs by addressing the most significant existing DMSMS issues.


The DRAGON Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) contract was awarded sole source to The Boeing Company where one aircraft was modified with the DRAGON solution.  The majority of the CNS/ATM LRUs consists of an integrated Collins Aerospace commercial type Flight Management System Suite (FMSS).  Though the Boeing 707-320 series aircraft is Boeing proprietary data and the FMSS is Collins Aerospace proprietary, the content of the A-Kits is provided in Attachment 1.


DRAGON is currently executing the Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) portion of the program where 5 of the 31 aircraft fleet are being modified with DRAGON.  The remainder of the DRAGON modifications will be completed under Full Rate Production, which is currently scheduled for a late FY20 contract award. 


The scope of this effort is for the manufacturing and/or procurement of 25 aircraft kits and spares which will require the use of the Technical Data Package which makes up the DRAGON baseline.  Required documentation will be provided in a bidders' library at the time of a draft RFP, if one is issued.  For this RFI, sample drawings and pictures will be provided upon request to help vendors understand the scope of the effort.

•3.0  Requested Information
The Contractor shall provide responses to the following Government questions:

- Is the Contractor able to manufacture and/or procure all the parts listed on the parts attachments (Attachment A and B)?

- Is the Contractor willing to enter into Associate Contractor Agreements with other contractors?

- Does the Contractor have the ability to identify and reverse-engineer missing design details?

- Does the Contractor have the ability to kit parts prior to shipping to the warehousing facility?

- Does the Contractor have an existing approved supplier base that they will be drawing from for parts and services?

- Is the Contractor Cybersecurity compliant per DoD standards?

- Is the Contractor Supply Chain Risk Management compliant per DoD standards?

- Is the Contractor sufficiently staffed to put contracts in place with vendors in time to procure all required DRAGON parts by the estimated first kit need date of July 2021?

- What percentage of the Contractor's suppliers are domestic vs foreign?

- Is the Contractor International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) Compliant?


In the response the Contractor shall:

- Provide Technical Readiness Level (TRL) information

- Provide Manufacturing Readiness Level (MRL) information

- Identify any potential schedule constraints such as long lead items procurement, supply chain issues or other schedule constraints that could impact parts procurement and delivery

- Describe the Contractor's compliance with security engineering considerations

- Provide information on how the Contractor will procure qualified parts, assemble wiring harnesses and connectors and package into one kit per aircraft

- Discuss the Contractor's quality control processes which are required to complete this project

- Include a description of facilities, manpower and capabilities

- Describe ability to flex staffing and or utilize alternative vendors to make up schedule or supply disruptions

- Include information on past experience in the manufacturing, kitting and shipping areas

- Include information on past involvement of Government source inspections of A-Kit parts manufactures done by DCMA

- Describe the Contractor's DMS identification, analysis, and reporting process

- Describe the Contractor's ability to provide Government with hardware and/or software upgrade notifications (i.e. Service Bulletins)

- Describe the Contractor's past experience with providing software via Computer Program Identification Number (CPIN) process

- Provide a statement of assumptions and risks associated with this effort


Installations will be accomplished by a Government work force at Tinker AFB, Oklahoma.  The selected Contractor(s) may be required to provide reach back engineering support for procurement kits and installation. 


Respondents shall have, or be capable of obtaining, at a minimum, secret clearance to allow them access to the installation facility/flight line for technical support.


The Government anticipates the Period of Performance (PoP) will be from late 2020 through late 2028.


•4.0  Responses
Responses to this RFI will only be accepted via email.  If the Contractor anticipates submitting a response, send notification via email to the Contracting Officer, Capt Alexis Edwards and Contract Specialist, Mr. William Horrigan no later than 5 days after publication of this announcement in order for the program office to provide drawings and documentation to interested Contractors. Responses must be unclassified.  Proprietary information, if any, should be minimized and must be clearly marked. Final RFI responses must be received NLT midnight on 19 August 2019.



The Government requests the following administrative information pertinent to the business unit responding to the RFI be included in the RFI response:

Company / Institute Name:


Point of Contact:

CAGE Code:

Phone Number:

E-mail Address:


A statement as to whether your company is large or small business under NAICS code 334511, size standard 1,250 employees. Also indicate if you are: A non-profit entity,

A small disadvantaged business, Section 8(a) small business, woman­owned small business, service-disabled veteran-owned small business or a Hub Zone small business.


A statement as to whether your company is domestically or foreign owned (if foreign, please indicate the country of ownership).


Advisory and Assistance Services (A&AS), Specialized Cost Services (SCS) and Federally Funded Research and Development Center (FFRDC) contractors will be reviewing data submitted in response to this RFI.  Employees of these companies have standard Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDA) available to the Government contracting offices.  If additional NDAs are required please contact the Contracting Officer NLT 5 days prior to submittal of your RFI response.


•5.0   Industry Discussions

AWACS representatives may or may not choose to meet with potential respondents. Such discussions would only be intended to get further clarification of potential capability to meet the requirements.

•6.0   Questions
Questions regarding this announcement shall be submitted in writing by e-mail to the Contracting Officer and Contract Specialists.  Questions will be answered by e-mail; accordingly, questions shall not contain proprietary or classified information.  The Government does not guarantee that questions received after 10 days of the publication date of this RFI will be answered.

•7.0   Summary
This RFI is issued solely for information and planning purposes and does not constitute a solicitation nor is it authorization to incur cost for which reimbursement would be required or sought. The Government does not intend to award a contract on the basis of this RFI and responses to this notice are not offers and cannot be accepted by the Government to form a binding contract. All submissions become Government property and will not be returned.


1. DRAGON A Kit Parts List

2. DRAGON B Kit Parts List

William M. Horrigan, Contract Specialist, Phone 7812253414, Email - Alexis J. Edwards, Contracts Manager, Phone 781-271-2641, Email

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