June 20, 2012
Credit: Credit: Embraer
Under the shadow of a second lawsuit, Hawker Beechcraft (HBC) and Sierra Nevada Corp. (SNC) have submitted their bids in the restaged competition to supply 20 light-attack aircraft to Afghanistan.
Technical and cost proposals for the Light Air Support (LAS) program were submitted to the U.S. Air Force on June 18. HBC is offering its AT-6 and SNC the Embraer A-29 Super Tucano.
Contract award is scheduled for mid-January, leading to first delivery to the Afghan National Army air force in July 2014 — a delay of more than a year.
The contest is being restaged after the Air Force terminated the original $355 million contract won by SNC and Embraer in December 2011. HBC was eliminated from that competition before downselect because of technical deficiencies in its AT-6 bid.
HBC filed a lawsuit in the Court of Federal Claims challenging its elimination. The Air Force canceled SNC’s contract after concluding the reasons for the AT-6’s disqualification were inadequately documented.
HBC’s suit was dismissed after the Air Force took corrective action, including voiding SNC’s contract and restaging the competition. But this has prompted SNC to file its own lawsuit in a bid to have the original contract reinstated. It also argues the amended request for proposals issued by the Air Force favors its competitor (Aerospace DAILY, June 14).
“Our goal one way or the other is to get the LAS capability into the hands of those who need it in the most expeditious, fair and transparent manner,” says Taco Gilbert, SNC vice president for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance business development.
“Our proposal clearly demonstrates that the AT-6 meets or exceeds all LAS requirements with an integrated solution of systems that combine an American-made production aircraft, worldwide logistics and USAF-standard training capabilities,” says Hawker Beechcraft Chairman Bill Boisture.