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Friday, March 8, 2013

Beechcraft to Protest Air Force Light Air Support Contract

Beechcraft Corp. on Friday announced its decision to formally protest the U.S. Air Force’s recent $427.5 million Light Air Support (LAS) contract awarded to Brazilian airframe manufacturer Embraer.

Embraer was awarded the LAS contract on Feb. 27 in partnership with Sierra Nevada Corp. (SNC) to supply 20 of its A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircraft to Afghanistan’s military.

In a statement, Beechcraft said the protest would be filed with the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO). The company said its AT-6 aircraft was confirmed as “exceptional” by the air force during a debriefing earlier this week, despite the Embraer aircraft being selected over it.

The LAS contract was awarded to the Embraer/SNC team in 2012, but was eventually canceled after an investigation into the award found evidence of bias toward the two companies, Beechcraft said.

“We simply don’t understand how the Air Force can justify spending over 40 percent more – over $125 million more – for what we consider to be less capable aircraft,” Boisture said. “Given our experience of last year and our continued strong concern that there are again significant errors in the process and evaluation in this competition, we are left with no recourse other than to file a protest with the GAO.” More

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