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Friday, June 14, 2013

Beechcraft Loses GAO Protest for LAS Contract

By Woodrow Bellamy III

Beechcraft Corp.'s protest on the U.S. Air Force light air support contract (LAS) has been rejected by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), as the agency supports the decision to award the contract to Brazilian manufacturer Embraer.
The $427-million LAS contract was awarded to Embraer in February for its A-29 Super Tucano aircraft, over Beechcraft's AT-6, which is a military derivative of its T-6 turboprop trainer. The contract calls for 20 aircraft, in support of military personnel in Afghanistan, and is potentially worth up to $1 billion with options for future orders. 
"We have known that the requirements for this procurement were written to favor the competition’s aircraft," Beechcraft said in a statement issued Thursday.
"During this protest, we learned that the GAO’s review looks only at whether the Air Force followed its process, but not whether the process itself was actually correct or appropriate. We question whether the Embraer aircraft with its foreign-made weapons can be certified to U.S. military standards in time to provide the mission-capable aircraft per the contract."
The Wichita, Kan.-based manufacturer is calling on lawmakers to limit the purchase of Embraer's Super Tucanos to only that of the Afghanistan requirement covered by the first delivery order of the LAS contract.


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