Hawker Beechcraft officials said Friday they learned about the award of a federal project this week while attempting to protest the company’s exclusion from the bidding process.
Hawker Beechcraft learned during an initial status conference at the Court of Federal Claims that the U.S. Air Force awarded the Light Air Support contract on Dec. 22 to the Sierra Nevada Corp. and its Brazilian manufacturer Embraer, the Wichita-based plane builder said in a Friday afternoon news release. Hawker Beechcraft has asked the court to grant a temporary restraining order to stop the Air Force from moving forward in the contract process. A ruling is expected as early as Jan. 11.
During the Wednesday hearing, the government said that the unannounced award was made shortly after the Government Accountability Office declined to review Hawker Beechcraft’s protest against its exclusion from the LAS competition. In the news release, company officials said federal agencies are generally required to make a public award announcement by 5 p.m. Eastern Time on the day of the award.
“This is yet another example of the Air Force’s lack of transparency throughout this competition,” said Bill Boisture, Hawker Beechcraft’s chairman and CEO. “With this development, it now seems even clearer that the Air Force intended to award the contract to Embraer from early in this process.”
Company officials said they still have no concrete reasons for the exclusion of the Beechcraft AT-6, having been denied explanation by the U.S. Air Force on two occasions. The LAS contract is valued at nearly $1 billion of U.S. taxpayer money, Hawker Beechcraft officials said..