USAF Negates Super Tucano Pick for Afghan Military
In a stunning reversal, 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.
A spokeswoman for Sierra Nevada was not immediately available for comment.
The Air Force is purchasing the aircraft on behalf of Afghanistan, which is building its military air service.
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