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Say What??? USAF Boots Hawker, Mysteriously, From Light Air Support Bid Process

Wichita Gets Kicked In The Teeth, By Washington... Again

Late last week, and for reasons that are still somewhat mysterious, Hawker Beechcraft received official notification from the United States Air Force that the Beechcraft AT-6 has been excluded from continuing in the Light Air Support (LAS) bidding process. As a result they have requested a review of the USAF Light Air Support Bidding decision.

Initial reaction from American politicos and analysts has been fairly negative toward the USAF decision. Rep. Mike Pompeo, Wichita-R, stated that, “I am disappointed to learn that Hawker-Beechcraft’s AT-6B proposal was excluded by the United States Air Force from the Light Air Support (LAS) competition... I have already demanded answers from the Pentagon on why they made this very unfortunate decision, and will continue to do so. This contract is critical both to our nation’s security and to jobs in Wichita, Kansas.

“It is vitally important for the Pentagon to clarify this matter, especially in light of allegations that Hawker’s main competitor in the LAS competition, Embraer, is being investigated for violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act," his statement continued. "Just last week, I alerted the Department of Defense to these allegations. I will continue to closely follow this issue.”

Up against the Embraer Super Tucano, characterized by many as something of a dark horse in this race, it would appear that the competition is now likely to be awarded, a $Billion$ worth no less, to the Brazilian manufacturer.

The Teal Group's Richard Aboulafia was quoted by the Wichita eagle as stating, “They (Hawker) seemed to be the front runner for the contract... They had the most infrastructure spread over the most states and the most political support.”

On its own behalf, Hawker Beechcraft Corporation (HBC) stated, "We have been notified by the United States Air Force in a letter that the Beechcraft AT-6 has been excluded from the Light Air Support competition. The letter provides no basis for the exclusion. We are both confounded and troubled by this decision, as we have been working closely with the Air Force for two years and, with our partners, have invested more than $100 million preparing to meet the Air Force's specific requirements.

Additionally, the AT-6 has been evaluated and proven capable through a multi-year, Congressionally-funded demonstration program led by the Air National Guard. We have followed the Air Force's guidance closely and, based on what we have seen, we continue to believe that we submitted the most capable, affordable and sustainable light attack aircraft as measured against the Air Force's Request for Proposal. We have requested a debriefing from the Air Force and will be exploring all potential options in the coming days."

Hawker Beechcraft Corporation's headquarters and major facilities are located in Wichita, KS, with operations in Salina, KS; Little Rock, AR; Chester, England, UK; and Chihuahua, Mexico. The company boasts a 'global network' of more than 100 factory-owned and authorized service centers.

ANN has questions into the USAF but has received no response as yet...

FMI: www.hawkerbeechcraft.com, www.af.mil

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