Contract vehicle cuts timeline for foreign military sales deals

The Engineering Assessment, Procurement, Integration & Contractor Logistics Support, or EPIC, contract will speed the ability for foreign partners to acquire non-standard types of aircraft or sensors, such as a King Air, Pilatus PC-12 or Hawker RC-800 (pictured above) that was acquired for South Korea under the Peace Pioneer program. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

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The Engineering Assessment, Procurement, Integration & Contractor Logistics Support, or EPIC, contract will speed the ability for foreign partners to acquire non-standard types of aircraft or sensors, such as a King Air, Pilatus PC-12 or Hawker RC-800 (pictured above) that was acquired for South Korea under the Peace Pioneer program. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

A contract awarded by the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center’s ISR/SOF Directorate promises to improve competition for some foreign military sales (FMS) cases while also speeding the process dramatically.

The Engineering Assessment, Procurement, Integration & Contractor Logistics Support, or EPIC, is an indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract designed to award non-standard aircraft systems for FMS partners. Vendors competed and were selected for EPIC to form a pool which then competes for individual orders from FMS partners, according to Lt. Col John Kosobud, chief, Non-Standard FMS Aircraft Branch.

“It gives FMS partners a more streamlined approach to acquiring ISR capabilities in a competitive environment since each request is competed for by the 22 vendors in the pool,” Kosobud said. “As much of contract structure is already completed, it reduces the contracting timeframes down on average from 18 months to six.”

Under the traditional system, it could take 24 months just to get on contract, he said. With EPIC, countries could begin receiving new capabilities in the same timeframe.

It took the division’s small team working on the $950 million EPIC some time to establish the contract structure, complete negotiation and make the vendor awards. But now that work is complete, orders can flow much quicker.

“It’s already starting to bear fruit,” Kosobud said, indicating they hope to make the first award under the month-old EPIC soon.

In addition to the timing, the competition typically drives costs down for countries who can now present problems to the vendor pool, receive solutions and make a best-value selection.

“Many of the countries we deal with don’t have large defense budgets and aren’t awash with money,” Kosobud said.

The contract is designed for non-programs of record meaning they are systems the U.S. Air Force doesn’t purchase in its inventory.

“We’re looking at non-standard types of aircraft or sensors, like a King Air or Pilatus PC-12, capabilities that integrate aircraft and commercial-off-the-shelf solutions,” he said. “USAF systems such as F-15s and F-16s that require development and testing are handled by other organizations.”

Although the contract is about delivering capabilities to FMS partners, the USAF warfighter gains as well.

“Not only is it providing our partners the capability to defend their own borders, as well as an opportunity for interoperability with United States and our allies, but it’s also provides us that bit of a foothold in building relationships with other countries and beating our peer adversaries to the punch,” Kosobud said.

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