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Air Force Cans Super Tucano Light Attack Contract

by John Reed on February 28, 2012

Well, the Air Force just scrapped the  $355 million contract it gave Embraer and Sierra Nevada Corporation for 20 Super Tucano light attack turboprops on Dec. 31.

Remember, the Brazilian Super T beat out Hawker Beechcraft’s AT-6 Texan in the light attack contest aimed at providing a counterinsurgency aircraft for the tiny Afghan air force.

Apparently, someone got something pretty wrong in the “documentation” for the deal. So wrong that the Air Force has contacted the Department of Justice about the matter. Uh oh.

Here are the details as reported by Marcus over at Defense News:

the U.S. Air Force plans to negate a decision to award Sierra Nevada Corp. and Embraer a $355 million contract for 20 light-attack aircraft for the Afghan military.

The move follows efforts to protest the award by Wichita, Kan.-based Hawker Beechcraft, whose AT-6 turboprop lost the bid in December. The company unsuccessfully protested the Air Force decision to the Government Accountability Office and has since filed a lawsuit in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.

Now the Air Force says it will “set aside” the contract award as of March 2 to Brazil-based Embraer and its U.S. partner, Sierra Nevada, for Super Tucano aircraft, according to Jennifer Cassidy, a service spokeswoman.

“While we pursue perfection, we sometimes fall short, and when we do, we will take corrective action,” Air Force Secretary Michael Donley said in a Feb. 28 statement on the decision.

Donley added that Air Force acquisition executive David Van Buren “is not satisfied with the quality of the documentation supporting the award decision.”

At the same time, Gen. Donald Hoffman, commander of Air Force Materiel Command, has launched an investigation into the matter.

On Feb. 28, the Air Force notified the Justice Department of its action, according to Cassidy.

Here’s Sierra Nevada’s response to the cancellation, it doesn’t say much other than, ‘we’re disappointed and we did nothing wrong.’

SPARKS, NV, February 28, 2012 –  Taco Gilbert, Ret. USAF Brigadier General, and Vice President of ISR Business Development at Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) issued the following statement in response to the announcement by the U.S. Air Force that it will set aside the contract issued in December for Light Air Support capabilities (LAS):

“We are disappointed by this decision.  We offered the U.S. Air Force a fully proven and cost-effective Light Air Support solution – and one that would be made in America, create and support American jobs and result in economic investment in the U.S.  We know that our submission fully met the requirements of the U.S Air Force Request for Proposal (RFP) and that Sierra Nevada Corporation fully complied with the RFP process as set out by the U.S. Air Force.

“Today’s announcement only further delays the effort to get critical capabilities into the hands of our men and women in uniform and our coalition partners in-theatre.  It also stymies efforts to create jobs and economic development at a time when our economy needs the boost.

“SNC and our team remain ready to get to work on this important contract. The A-29 Super Tucano, made in America, is the only plane that is capable today of meeting the requirements of the LAS mission. Nothing changes the fact that the war-fighter needs this capability immediately.”

 

 

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