“As the nation is facing immense financial hurdles, including a trillion dollar cut to the Department of Defense over the next decade, it seems unwise to select a higher-priced supplier,” the lawmakers say. They also point to the potential preservation of 1,400 jobs in Beechcraft’s bid, and note this is important given the unemployment rate.
The Air Force decision was apparently based on concerns over whether Beechcraft’s AT-6 would receive timely certification, they say.
“This is an unreasonable concern given the history of its aircraft certification both in the civil and military spheres,” they contend.
“Additionally, the accelerated timeline in this competition is due directly to the failures of the Air Force in the previous LAS procurement process, which caused nearly a year’s delay.”
Sierra Nevada executives say 86% of the parts for the Embraer-built A-29 are sourced from U.S. or allied countries. Embraer plans to ship structures from Brazil and assemble them in Jacksonville, Fla.
The lawmakers asked Hagel for a “thorough, compelling” explanation of the Air Force decision.
Beechcraft only recently emerged from bankruptcy under its previous flag, Hawker Beechcraft; a win would be a major boon for the rebranded company.
Editor's note: An earlier version of this story misidentified Sierra Nevada's teammate on LAS.