Beechcraft moves to stop LAS project work

March 22, 2013 at 10:44 AM

WICHITA, Kan., March 22 (UPI) -- The Beechcraft Corp. is pressing ahead with attempts to win the U.S. Air Force's LAS contract, which has twice been given to Embraer of Brazil.

The company filed suit Thursday in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims to temporarily block the Air Force and Embraer, with partner Sierra Nevada Corp., from beginning work on the Light Air Support program.

The Air Force this month said it was overriding demands for a new review of the contract award because of the urgency for the production of air support aircraft to be supplied to Afghanistan.

The LAS calls for an initial order of 20 combat aircraft to be produced for Afghanistan. Partners Embraer and SNC offered the A-29 Super Tucano, which is in use in a number of countries.

The Brazilian planes would be assembled in Florida, where Embraer and SNC have leased factory space.

Beechcraft offered a combat variant of its T-6 trainer and forced the Air Force to reopen the competition after filing a protest with the U.S. Government Accountability Office, which reportedly found bias in the contract award.

Embraer and SNC won the second competition and Beechcraft again filed a protest with the GAO. Its finding is expected within 90 days.

Reacting to Beechcraft's latest move, Embraer and SNC said Friday, "We are continuing to move forward with our contractual obligations to support the LAS program."

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