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Beechcraft to Protest U.S. Air Force Decision — Press Release

WICHITA, Kan., March 8, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Beechcraft Corporation today announced that it will formally protest to the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) the U.S. Air Force’s (USAF) recent award of the Light Air Support contract to its Brazilian competitor, Embraer. An estimated 1400 jobs in Kansas and other states are in jeopardy as a result of the Air Force decision.

“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.”

Last year, an Air Force investigation found evidence of bias toward Brazil-based Embraer and its Nevada-based partner, Sierra Nevada (SNC), which led to the decision to restart the competition. Although SNC later sued the Air Force attempting to enforce the biased decision, U.S. Court of Federal Claims Judge Christine O.C. Miller wrote in her Nov. 1, 2012, opinion that based on the investigation’s evidence of bias “the Air Force’s decision to cancel the contract award to SNC and re-solicit proposals was reasonable and rational and should stand.”

“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.”

About Beechcraft Corporation

Beechcraft Corporation designs, builds and supports versatile and globally renowned aircraft, including the King Air turboprops, piston-engine Baron and Bonanza, and the T-6 trainer and AT-6 light attack military aircraft. Its 5,400 highly skilled employees are focused on continuously improving the company’s products and services which are sold to individuals, businesses and governments worldwide. In business since 1932, Beechcraft has built more than 54,000 aircraft and more than 36,000 continue flying today. It leads the industry with a global network of more than 90 factory-owned and authorized service centers. The company’s headquarters and major manufacturing facilities are located in Wichita, Kan. For more information, visit beechcraft.com or follow us on Twitter @Beechcraft.

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Air Force Cost Goals Restrict Competition for New Rescue Helicopter

The U.S. Air Force is once again trying to attempt to buy a new aircraft to replace their MH-60 rescue helicopter fleet from the Eighties. The original CSAR-X program faltered twice earlier this century due to protests. Boeing (BA) had one the last contest with a version of the CH-47 but after protests from the losing bidders it was decided to start over.

The current Combat Rescue Helicopter program had put out a RFP for new proposals due in January. The goal is to buy just over 100 aircraft at a cost of $6.4 billion.

Unfortunately it was announced this past week that the only company interested in bidding on the contract is Sikosrky, part of United Technologies (UTX), teamed with Lockheed Martin (LMT). Sikorsky made the current HH-60 fleet. Other potential bidders including Augusta Westland, Eurocopter, Bell and Boeing believe that the cost goals will be too hard to meet for their products. Some have basically said the contract requirements were written in such as way so only a version of the UH-60 Black Hawk could meet them.

The Pentagon is obviously trying to reduce cost but at also at the same time promoting competition. Sometimes, as here, the two things don’t always work together as to attract bidders there must be some profit in it for them.

The Air Force has struggled with large acquisitions for a few years now. The new aerial tanker, KC-X, took 3 tries before Boeing won. The CSAR-X has already been discussed. They are currently redoing the Light Air Support aircraft contest after Embraer and Sierra Nevada’s win of the original contract was overturned on protest.

Whether they want to continue the current contest with limited bidders or try to re-do the requirements to attract more will be the next decision. They could just wait and see if more then one bid in January as originally intended.

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Air Force Will Attempt Second Contest for Light Air Support Aircraft

Following up on its decision to cancel the initial contract to Sierra Nevada and Brazil’s Embraer for the initial order of Light Air Support (LAS) aircraft for use by the Afghan military the U.S. Air Force now plans a new contest. The contract was protested by Hawker Beechcraft whose T-6 based proposal was removed from the competition. After the start of an investigation into the source selection which continues the service’s leadership decided to end the first attempt and begin again.

The Air Force investigation found that there was not sufficient justification for the decisions to remove Hawker and award the $300 million contract to Sierra Nevada. This company teamed with Embraer which would see their Tucano based system assembled in Florida.

Now it is expected that an amended Request for Proposals will be issued in the near future allowing the two companies to compete again.

If the program goes as planned it could be worth up to $1 billion in orders.

With the new proposal process it is hoped that a decision will be made next year.

Hawker is struggling and may face bankruptcy in the near future and the LAS win would be a major boon for the company. Brazil is looking at buying a new fighter and Boeing’s (BA) F/A-18 is one of the major contenders and a win for Embraer is believed to be helpful for that contest.

The Air Force has struggled over the last decade with awarding new contracts. There was the long running KC-X tanker program which took three attempts to award finally to Boeing. The new combat rescue helicopter, CSAR-X, went through two iterations but is now currently on hold. The cornerstone of the new Air Force, Lockheed’s (LMT) Joint Strike Fighter, is facing cost and schedule problems. The Light Air Support program seems to continue that trend.

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Air Force Light Attack Contract Gets More Curious

Update – Last night Embraer confirmed receipt of the $355 million contract for twenty aircraft and their support.

It came out today as part of Hawker Beechcraft’s suit against the U.S. Air Force over their denied protest about their exclusion from the Light Attack aircraft competition that the contract has been awarded to the team of Sierra Nevada and Brazil’s Embraer. Hawker had submitted a version of their T-6 trainer for an aircraft initially to potentially be used by Afghanistan and the U.S.

The Air Force eliminated the proposal from consideration as not being technically responsive. Hawker protested to the Government Accountability Office ( GAO) but was denied by that agency. Hawker then sued as the next step in the protest process. That case is being expedited by the Federal Court responsible for these cases.

The notice of the award tothe only remaining bidder came without seemingly either public notice by the Defense Department or Congressional notification. This latest move will only further raise questions especially of those in Congress who support Hawker.

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Az Embraer kiaknázza Florida űriparának munkaerejét

MELBOURNE, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Repülőgépmérnökök és –technikusok bőven előfordulnak a floridai Melbourne körzetében, és az olyan repülőgépgyártó óriáscégek, mint az Embraer megragadják a lehetőséget annak a kiváló munkaerőnek a foglalkoztatására, amely az űrsikló „nyugdíjazása” után marad a térségben. A Melbourne-i Nemzetközi Repülőtér és a Melbourne-i városi közgyűlés vezetői az ügy élharcosai, a cég nyolcezer állásából körülbelül ezret töltenek globális cégekkel, hónapokkal az utolsó űrrepü

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Embraer neemt Florida’s ruimtevaartindustriemedewerkers over

MELBOURNE, Florida, VS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Er is een overvloed aan ruimtewetenschappers en technici in de regio Melbourne, Florida en internationale luchtvaartgiganten zoals Embraer werken graag met de medewerkers van hoog kaliber die na het stopzetten van de Space Shuttle projecten beschikbaar komen. Met functionarissen van Melbourne International Airport en de City of Melbourne als leiders van de strijd worden duizend van de 8000 functies die naar verwachting verloren zullen gaan vervangen door

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Embraer accueille la main-d’œuvre de l’industrie spatiale de Floride

MELBOURNE, Floride--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Les ingénieurs et techniciens spécialistes en aérospatiale abondent dans la région de Melbourne en Floride, et les géants internationaux de l’aviation comme Embraer accueillent cette main-d’œuvre de haut niveau qui se retrouve au chômage dû à l’arrêt du programme de la navette spatiale. Grâce aux efforts des officiels de l’Aéroport International de Melbourne et de la Ville de Melbourne qui mènent le combat, près d’un millier des 8 000 postes qui seront probab

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Brazil to Develop Modern Transport Aircraft

Brazil and Embraer announced that they plan to develop a modern, twin engined transport aircraft. This is a major step forward in the development of the Brazilian indigenous arms industry and if successful will give the nation and country an aircraft quite capable of being marketed overseas. The KC-390 will be derived from an exiting Embraer passenger aircraft but will require significant development work. The plan is to do this over seven years and spend about $1.3 billion according to Reuters. The KC-390 will compete head-to-head with C-130 class aircraft and also be required to have tanker capability. This announcement comes on top of recent activity by Brazil to buy a new fighter and helicopter for their military. If the program is successful and can be done on cost and schedule then it will vault Brazil forward in the realms of world military providers.

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