Beechcraft has filed suit in the Court of Federal Claims contesting the U.S. Air Force’s decision to reject its protest of a multimillion-dollar light attack aircraft contract awarded to Embraer earlier this month.
In a statement Beechcraft said the Government Accountability Office (GAO) continues to review its protest of the $428 million Light Aircraft Support (LAS) award, with a ruling on the procurement expected within 90 days.
Embraer and project partner Sierra Nevada Corp. this week announced they will soon begin construction of a factory in Florida to produce 20 Super Tucano light attack airplanes for the LAS program. The move comes after the Air Force and the White House rejected Beechcraft’s latest protest of the award.
Embraer won the initial $355 million LAS contract in December 2011, but Beechcraft challenged the decision. That led to the second selection process, in which Beechcraft lost again. Beechcraft is complaining that the choice of the Super Tucano over Beech's own AT-6 Texan II turboprop is a more expensive option and will cost U.S.jobs.
Once the contract is fulfilled, the LAS aircraft will be handed over to the Afghan military for anti-insurgency missions.