Hawker Beechcraft Decries Light Attack Contract Award

 - January 3, 2012, 3:10 PM

After the U.S. Air Force awarded a $1 billion light attack aircraft contract last week to Sparks, Nev.-based systems integrator Sierra Nevada and its partner, Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer, Hawker Beechcraft described the process as “yet another example of the Air Force’s lack of transparency through this competition.” The decision eliminated Hawker Beechcraft’s AT-6 in favor of Embraer’s A-29 Super Tucano, both of which are high-performance, single-engine turboprop aircraft developed from military trainers. The Air Force notified Hawker Beechcraft in late November that it was being dropped from the bidding process, and the Wichita-based OEM subsequently requested a court hearing. During that hearing on December 28, the government revealed that a decision regarding award of the contract had already been made on December 22, shortly after the Government Accountability Office declined to review Hawker Beechcraft’s protest against its exclusion. During the December 28 hearing, the court did agree to establish an accelerated schedule for briefings on the request for a temporary restraining order and on the legal merits of the case. A ruling on Hawker Beechcraft’s request for the temporary order is expected as early as January 11.