Navy hunting auction bargains

The Navy hopes a reverse Internet auction May 5 will shoot down the price

of ejection seat components.

The Naval Supply Systems Command plans to buy parts for ejection seats

for B-1 bombers and F-15, F-16 and F-117 fighters during an auction in which

parts suppliers will compete against each other to get a Navy contract.

Although the planes are all Air Force aircraft, the Navy buys their

ejection seat parts, along with parts for Navy planes, submarines and ships

through its Naval Inventory Control Point in Pennsylvania.

Unlike a standard auction in which prospective buyers bid prices up,

in a reverse auction, prospective sellers bid the price down as they compete

to make a sale.

The Navy apparently will be the first federal agency to buy through

a reverse online auction, but the Postal Service and the Commerce Department

are also planning online buying auctions for May.

During the Navy auction, companies that make ejection seat components

will submit bids to a secure Internet site and watch as their competitors

also bid. The companies will be given several chances to submit lower bids

before the auction ends, the Navy said.

An auction is far different from standard procurement procedure, in

which companies submit a single sealed bid and a contract is awarded to

the best offer.

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