Concerns over the procurement process have led the US Air Force to cancel a US$355 million contract to supply light attack aircraft to the nascent Afghan Air Force.
The Light Air Support (LAS) contract was awarded in December to Embraer and California’s Sierra Nevada Corp for 20 Embraer AT-29 Super Tucanos. Rival Hawker Beechcraft filed suit against the government on December 27, claiming its AT-6 aircraft had been unfairly disqualified from bidding.
In a statement released yesterday, Air Force Secretary Michael Donley said the service was “not satisfied with the quality of the documentation supporting the award decision” and had initiated an investigation, with the first report due on March 12.
In a statement, Embraer said it would await further clarification of the issue before deciding how to respond.
“Embraer participated in the LAS selection process providing, on time and without exceptions, all the required documentation,” it said.
Hawker Beechcraft, meanwhile, hailed the decision and said it looked forward to competing for the contract.
“This LAS competition is about much more than 20 aircraft for Afghanistan,” Hawker’s chairman, Bill Boisture, said in the statement. “It is about the US Air Force’s ability to build relationships with US partner nations around the world for a generation to come. We continue to believe the American manufactured AT-6 is the right aircraft for this critical United States mission.”