Thursday, March 21, 2013
In the latest voice of protest, today Beechcraft Corporation filed suit in the Court of Federal Claims to contest the U.S. Air Force’s decision to award the Light Air Support contract to its Braziliam competitor, Embraer/Sierra Nevada.
The suit aims to lift the stay of performance on the Light Air Support (LAS) contract while the Government Accountability Office (GAO) continues to review Beechcraft’s protest of the award to Embraer.
The Air Force made the announcement earlier this month, and at that time Beechcraft Corporation announced it would formally protest the decision.
In a news release issued in early March, Beechcraft said an estimated 1,400 jobs in Kansas and other states are in jeopardy as a result of the Air Force decision.
“Our belief that we have the best aircraft was confirmed by the Air Force rating our aircraft ‘exceptional’ and the fact that we are the lower cost solution was confirmed by the USAF’s public award announcement," Beechcraft CEO Bill Boisture said in that release.
Last year, an Air Force investigation found evidence of bias toward Brazil-based Embraer and its Nevada-based partner, Sierra Nevada (SNC), which led to the decision to restart the competition. Although SNC later sued the Air Force attempting to enforce the biased decision, U.S. Court of Federal Claims Judge Christine O.C. Miller wrote in her Nov. 1, 2012, opinion that based on the investigation’s evidence of bias “the Air Force’s decision to cancel the contract award to SNC and re-solicit proposals was reasonable and rational and should stand.”
A GAO ruling on Beechcraft’s protest of this procurement is expected within 90 days.