Hawker Beechcraft learned during this week’s initial status conference at the Court of Federal Claims that the U.S. Air Force awarded the Light Air Support (LAS) contract to the Sierra Nevada Corporation and its Brazilian manufacturer Embraer last week.
During the hearing, the government revealed that the unannounced award apparently was made on Dec. 22, 2011, shortly after the Government Accountability Office declined to review Hawker Beechcraft’s protest against its exclusion from the LAS competition. Per federal regulations, federal agencies are generally required to make a public award announcement by 5 p.m. ET on the day of the award.
“This is yet another example of the Air Force’s lack of transparency throughout this competition,” said Bill Boisture, Hawker Beechcraft chairman and CEO. “With this development, it now seems even clearer that the Air Force intended to award the contract to Embraer from early in this process.”
During the hearing on Dec. 28, Hawker Beechcraft requested that the court grant a temporary restraining order to preclude the Air Force from moving forward in the contract process. The court agreed to establish an accelerated schedule for briefings on the temporary restraining order and the legal merits of the case. A ruling on Hawker Beechcraft’s request for a temporary restraining order is expected as early as Jan. 11.
The company still has no concrete reasons for the exclusion of the Beechcraft AT-6, having been denied explanation by the U.S. Air Force on two occasions. The LAS contract, on track to benefit a non-U.S. company, is valued at nearly $1 billion of U.S. taxpayer money.
The AT-6 is a world-class, light attack aircraft that has been evaluated and proven capable through a multi-year, Congressionally-funded program led by the Air National Guard. Hawker Beechcraft and its industrial partners worked closely with the Air Force for two years to develop parameters for the LAS competition and invested more than $100 million preparing to meet the Air Force’s specific requirements for a light attack aircraft. The benefits of the AT-6 far outweigh that of the competition’s offering, including the following important factors:
- The AT-6 is designed and manufactured in the U.S. to be used by the U.S and its allies.
- Keeping this contract in the U.S. will help preserve 1,400 domestic jobs at 181 companies in 39 states.
- The AT-6 draws its heritage from the airframe of the number-one training aircraft in the world, the Beechcraft T-6. The company has built more than 725 T-6 aircraft, which are used to train every fixed-wing military pilot in the United States and are successfully operated by six allied air forces around the world. The graduation to the AT-6 light attack airplane would be a natural progression.
- The AT-6 is the sum of the Air Force’s proven T-6, A-10C mission system and MC-12W sensor suite, which offers the Department of Defense logistics and cost efficiencies that no other aircraft in the competition can match.
- The weapons and avionics systems included on the AT-6 are familiar to NATO allies and have been proven effective on many continents and in other NATO aircraft.
Hawker Beechcraft is a world-leading manufacturer of business, special mission, light attack and trainer aircraft – designing, marketing and supporting aviation products and services for businesses, governments and individuals worldwide. The company’s headquarters and major facilities are located in Wichita, Kan., with operations in Salina, Kan.; Little Rock, Ark.; Chester, England, U.K.; and Chihuahua, Mexico. The company leads the industry with a global network of more than 100 factory-owned and authorized service centers. For more information, visit www.hawkerbeechcraft.com.