In what turned out to be his last days as CEO of Hawker Beechcraft, Bill Boisture cranked up to thunderous his company’s response to the Air Force’s awarding its light air support contract to Sierra Nevada and its partner, Brazilian OEM Embraer.
Embraer EMB 314 Super Tucano
When the U.S. Air Force announced on December 22 that it had selected Sierra Nevada and its Brazilian partner Embraer as the winner in the competition to build a light air support aircraft, not everyone was happy, in particular Wichita-based Hawker Beechcraft, a competitor for the same contract.
In light of Hawker Beechcraft’s pending litigation over award of a light attack aircraft contract to competitor Sierra Nevada, the U.S. Air Force has issued a temporary stop-work order. Hawker Beechcraft filed suit after learning that the GAO had dismissed its protest over exclusion from the bidding.
Brazil’s Embraer and its U.S. partner, Sierra Nevada Corp., confirmed that the A-29 Super Tucano won the U.S. Air Force Light Air Support (LAS) competition. Hawker Beechcraft continued to protest the decision, by appealing to the Court of Federal Claims, and the Air Force issued a stop work order this week, just days after Sierra Nevada was awarded a $355 million contract for an initial 20 aircraft, as well as training equipment and support.
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 U.S. Air Force has apparently chosen the Embraer Super Tucano to meet the Light Air Support (LAS) requirement.
Hawker Beechcraft completed a series of weapons delivery tests from its AT-6 light attack and reconnaissance aircraft, dropping eight laser-guided bombs as part of an ongoing operational assessment by the U.S. A
Embraer has sold eight Super Tucano turboprops to the Indonesian air force. The aircraft will replace aging OV-10 Broncos in the light attack role, although Embraer notes that the Super Tucano can also perform surveillance and air-to-air interception. The value of the deal, which also includes ground support and an integrated logistics package, was not revealed. Deliveries will begin in 2012.
In late July the U.S. Air Force’s Air Combat Command issued a request for information for what it calls the light attack/armed reconnaissance (LAAR) aircraft. The RFI covers the potential procurement of 100 OA-X aircraft optimized for irregular warfare missions, which could see the U.S. Air Force back in the business