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Air Force suspends LAS work

WASHINGTON, Jan. 5 (UPI) -- The U.S. Air Force has suspended work on the LAS contract given to the Sierra Nevada Corp. and Embraer of Brazil because of pending litigation.

Kansas company Hawker Beechcraft, which was dropped from the $355 million competition, appealed its exclusion in a federal claims court last month and recently requested a temporary injunction be issued on the project.

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The Light Air Support project is for an initial 20 turboprop aircraft to be used for combat support for ground troops and for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions, primarily in counterinsurgency operations. The aircraft to be produced initially would be for use by the Afghan air force.

Hawker Beechcraft had proposed its AT-6 aircraft, made in conjunction with the U.S. Air Force to its specifications but the contract went instead to the Sierra Nevada-Embraer partnership

RELATED Injunction sought on LAS award

Hawker Beechcraft says it wasn't given an explanation for the action, that there was a lack of transparency in the process and that the Air Force had violated regulations in not publicizing the granting of the award within the required timeframe.

"Our team is excited to have been awarded the LAS contract by the U.S. Air Force as a result of a fair and open competition and after a favorable review by the Government Accountability Office," Sierra Nevada Corp. said. We remain confident that the issue will resolved expeditiously.

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"These critical LAS capabilities need to be made available soon in order to support our men and women in uniform and our partners in Afghanistan. The A-29 Super Tucano, built in America, is the right solution for the LAS mission."

RELATED U.S. Air Force picks LAS contractor

Hawker Beechcraft said it expected a hearing on its injunction request this month.

RELATED Hawker Beechcraft suing over exclusion

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