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Saturday, April 19, 2014

Hawker Beechcraft submits another bid for Air Force contract

By Molly McMillin
The Wichita Eagle

Hawker Beechcraft on Monday submitted its bid to the Air Force for a controversial light air support contract in a competition with Sparks, Nev.-based Sierra Nevada Corp. and its partner, Brazil-based Embraer.

The company said it hand-delivered the 8,800-page proposal for its Beechcraft AT-6 to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

"This is a high-priority program for Hawker Beechcraft and our AT-6 partners," Hawker Beechcraft chairman Bill Boisture said in a statement. "We are producing the most capable, affordable, sustainable and interoperable light-attack and armed reconnaissance platform in the world today, and this proposal will prove that fact to the USAF."

It’s the second time the company has submitted a bid for the high-stakes contract to supply planes to help security efforts in Afghanistan.

The Air Force reopened the bidding after Hawker Beechcraft challenged the award of a $354 million contract to Sierra Nevada, saying it had been wrongly eliminated from the competition.

The Air Force launched an internal investigation, saying it wasn’t satisfied with the documentation used to support the award.

Last week, Sierra Nevada Corp. filed suit in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims seeking reinstatement of the contract.

The company said canceling the contract was an extreme response to paperwork errors by the Air Force.

At stake is a contract that ultimately could be worth nearly $1 billion, depending on future orders.

Boisture said the company’s AT-6 meets or exceeds all of the Air Force’s requirements.

Reach Molly McMillin at 316-269-6708 or

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