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Air Force needs another $1 billion for network hardware

The Air Force said it plans to extend for six months its current network hardware contract as it struggles to get new contract vehicles in place. The extension carries a $950 million price tag that at one time could have purchased a squadron of aircraft.

In a notice posted on the federal procurement website Monday, the Air Force said it needed to extend the original Network-Centric Solutions (NETCENTS) contract awarded in 2004 from September 2012 to March 2013. The extension is necessary to ensure there are no ordering gaps until the follow-on NETCENTS-2 contracts are in place.

The Air Force awarded the $7 billion, 10-year NETCENTS-2 contract to nine companies in April, after which 18 companies filed protests, delaying the final award. The Air Force will accept revised bids on NETCENTS-2 on June 27.

The service said “significant risk” to its networks and other Defense Department networks would result if it did not extend the ordering period for the orginal NETCENTS contracts and increase the ceiling value to nearly $10 billion.

The Air Force said it needs standard hardware obtained under these contacts to operate its networks and for cyber defense. The contracts include switches, hubs, gateways, routers, firewalls, servers, tape drives, satellite terminals, microwave and Wi-Fi hardware, and land mobile radios.

Booz Allen Hamilton, Centech Group, General Dynamics Corp., Harris Corp., Northrop Grumman Corp., Lockheed Martin Corp. and Telos are the vendors on the original NETCENTS contract.

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