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Injunction sought on LAS award

WICHITA, Kan., Jan. 3 (UPI) -- Hawker Beechcraft is seeking a U.S. District Court restraining order on the U.S. Air Force's awarding of its Light Air Support contract.

The multimillion-dollar contract for ground-support aircraft was given to the Sierra Nevada Corp. and Brazil's Embraer on Dec. 22, yet Hawker Beechcraft only learned of the decision Dec. 28 during an initial status hearing in court over its suit over being excluded from the contract competition.

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Hawker Beechcraft said the awarding of the contract should have been made public Dec. 22 in compliance with federal regulations.

"This is yet another example of the Air Force's lack of transparency throughout this competition," said Bill Boisture, Hawker Beechcraft chairman and chief executive officer. "With this development, it now seems even clearer that the Air Force intended to award the contract to Embraer from early in this process."

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The LAS project is for the development and manufacture of a turboprop attack aircraft to support ground forces in combat operations -- a role now performed by jet-powered planes.

Hawker Beechcraft had offered the Air Force its AT-6 fighter, developed in cooperation with the Air Force and at a cost of more than $100 million to the company and its partners.

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When the Air Force dropped the company from the LAS competition, Hawker Beechcraft requested a Government Accountability Office review of the decision. It filed suit in federal claims court when the GAO declined to do so.

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During the initial status hearing in court Dec. 28, when Hawker Beechcraft was informed of the contract award, the company was granted an accelerated hearing schedule on its request for a restraining order.

The court could rule on a temporary restraining order request by Jan. 11.

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