The Air Force has apparently booted Hawker-Beechcraft’s AT-6B from its light attack competition.
Hawker says it has no idea yet why its plane was disqualified from the contest a few weeks ago and is requesting a formal review of the matter from the Government Accountability Office.
The AT-6B was competing with Embraer’s Super Tucano for a U.S. Air Force contract to supply up to 20 light air support — or counterinsurgency planes — to the fledgling Afghan air force. A couple of months ago we reported that the service was supposed to decide this month on which plane it would supply the Afghans with.
Here’s a statement that Hawker released on the matter today:
Following the notification last week that Hawker Beechcraft Corporation (HBC) was excluded from the Light Air Support (LAS) bidding process, the company has requested that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) review the Air Force’s decision. The company issued the following statement on this action:
“Yesterday, we received notification that the United States Air Force formally denied our second request for a debriefing. As a result, we still have no information on why the Beechcraft AT-6 was excluded from the Light Air Support competition. We continue to believe that we offered the most capable, affordable and sustainable light attack aircraft as measured against the Air Force’s Request for Proposal. HBC’s exclusion from competing for this important contract appears at this point to have been made without basis in process or fact. We are very interested in learning more about the decision and look forward to the results of the GAO’s review.”
The Air Force is being fairly tight lipped on the issue besides confirming that a contract award will happen in late November or early December. (That’s pretty big news by itself)
Here’s what Air Force spokeswoman Jennifer Cassidy just told DT:
“The Air Force continues to be in close contact with all offerors of the LAS competition. Due to the ongoing source selection, we cannot comment on the status of any of the proposals. We anticipate awarding the contract late November/ early December. We will have more information once all offerors have been debriefed following contract award.
The picture above shows an AT-6B participating in one of the Air Force’s Joint Expeditionary Force Experiment (JEFX) events where it has flown a variety of ISR and light attack missions at the hands of A-10 pilots. Here’s more info on the plane.