Hawker Beechcraft CEO Bill Boisture and U.S. Rep. Mike Pompeo had one message this morning at a press conference inside a company hangar in east Wichita.
They want the Air Force to explain why it excluded the company’s bid for a light air support contract worth up to nearly $1 billion.
“We want to know,” Boisture said.
In November, the company was informed it had been excluded. The Government Accountability Office rejected its request for a briefing and its protest, saying both were filed after the deadline.
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The GAO also said in its report that that fact doesn’t mean the Air Force can’t debrief the company.
So far, it’s not responded to requests from Pompeo, members of the Kansas delegation and Hawker Beechcraft.
It also quietly awarded the contract to Sierra Nevada Corp., who has partnered with Embraer to supply Super Tucano turboprops, on Dec. 22. But it didn’t announce the award until Dec. 30, Pompeo said.
“That is highly unusual,” Pompeo said.
“We believe there’s been a flaw in the acquisition process,” he said.
Hawker Beechcraft offered the Air Force, its AT-6 turboprop, based on its T-6 trainer.
The loss of the contract puts at risk a $100 million investment by Hawker Beechcraft and its partners made over four years, Boisture said.
The program also represents 1,400 U.S. jobs, including 800 at the company.
The contract to Embraer, in contrast, will create 50 jobs at an Embraer site it will open in Jacksonville, Fla., he noted.“That will allow them to deliver an airplane out of a hangar in Florida and call it a U.S. airplane,” Boisture said.