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USAF to Restart Light-Strike Aircraft Competition

Apr. 9, 2012 - 08:27PM   |  
By MARCUS WEISGERBER   |   Comments
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The U.S. Air Force plans to restart a competition for a light-strike aircraft program it is running for the Afghan air force later this month.

“We will publish a new draft request for proposal on Light Air Support aircraft program,” Gen. Norton Schwartz, the Air Force chief of staff, said during an April 9 speech at the Atlantic Council in Washington. “Our purpose … is to provide the Afghan counterparts with a fixed-wing, close air support platform that they can operate effectively and affordably and reliably.”

The Air Force selected the Embraer Super Tucano over the Hawker Beechcraft AT-6 in December. But in February, the service negated the $355 million contract to the Brazilian based company and its U.S. partner, Sierra Nevada.

“It was regrettable that we had a problem on our documentation on the first source selection,” Schwartz said. “As a result, we responded by discontinuing that phase of the effort and we will begin anew here later this month with the current offers.”

After losing the contract, Hawker Beechcraft unsuccessfully protested to the Government Accountability Office and then filed a federal lawsuit.

The goal of the program is to purchase a fixed-wing, light-strike turboprop for the nascent Afghan air service.

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