by Kim Hynes
KWCH 12 Eyewitness News
10:43 AM CST, March 8, 2013
Beechcraft says it will protest a decision by the Air Force to give a contract to a Brazilian competitor. The Department of Defense awarded a $427 million light air support contract to Sierra Nevada Corp last week. Beechcraft says the decision puts 1,400 jobs at stake.
"Following our debrief with the Air Force earlier this week, we are very perplexed by this decision," said Bill Boisture, CEO, Beechcraft. "Our belief that we have the best aircraft was confirmed by the Air Force rating our aircraft 'exceptional' and the fact that we are the lower cost solution was confirmed by the USAF's public award announcement."
It is the second time the Air Force has chosen the Sparks, Nevada company over now Wichita-based Beechcraft Corp. The competition began nearly three years ago.
"We simply don't understand how the Air Force can justify spending over 40 percent more - over $125 million more - for what we consider to be less capable aircraft," Boisture said. "Given our experience of last year and our continued strong concern that there are again significant errors in the process and evaluation in this competition, we are left with no recourse other than to file a protest with the GAO. The Air Force needs to make the right decision for the nation and our future allies."
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