WASHINGTON — The Pentagon finished April with substantially more multi-billion contracts than usual, even though COVID-19 means most contractors will be getting paid while not working.
Think of it as an economic stimulus payment one would dream of receiving.
For example, one of the biggest — just under $7.2 billion — was let by the Naval Warfare Center, Aircraft Division in Patuxent River, Maryland, for generalized work on the production of mission system avionics, full-rate production of other aircraft components, production and installation of modification kits; and a variant full-rate production of other aircraft components, production, and installation of modification kits.
Work is “expected to be complete by April 2031” — but when work will begin is unclear. The payments will go to 27 companies in 22 states.
The pay-for-no-work approach is permitted because of a “deviation” issued by the Defense Pricing and Contracting (DPC) office. The DPC cited section 3610 of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act which allows agencies to reimburse contractors for payment to workers who are prevented from working due to COVID-19 facility closures or other restrictions.
“We remain committed to daily engagements with the defense industry, and will continue to leverage defense trade association calls to partner with them throughout the duration of this national emergency to ensure the safety of the workforce and accomplishment of the national security mission,” the Pentagon said in a statement.
The Navy came in with a second multi-billion contract for April — almost $6.2 billion — let by the Commander Fleet Readiness Center Procurement Group, also in Patuxent River, Maryland.
The work under this payment is under “indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contracts” for kits, aircraft recovery, augmentation, components and engines (KRACEn) that will provide aircraft maintenance services and support.
Work includes modification kit build and installations; recovery of downed aircraft; repair of aircraft and components; overhaul of engines; and augmentation labor supplement for maintenance where custody of the aircraft is not required, the Navy said. Additionally, “KRACEn will support single satellite site, simple platform and organizational level contractor logistics support requirements involving limited aircraft quantities in support of Navy Fleet Readiness Centers,” the Navy said.
These funds will flow to at least 39 entities in 33 states. Work is expected to be complete by April 2030, the Navy said.