Federal Court Lets Light Air Support Work Proceed

A federal judge last week denied Beechcraft’s motion and ruled that work on the Air Force-sponsored Light Air Support program may proceed while the Government Accountability Office investigates Beechcraft’s bid protest, according to service spokesman Ed Gulick. “Sierra Nevada Corp. will continue work on the LAS contract” while Beechcraft’s protest proceeds at GAO, said Gulick on April 19, the day of the court ruling. Beechcraft was challenging the Air Force’s decision to allow Sierra Nevada of Sparks, Nev., to continue work with its industry partner, Brazil’s Embraer, to supply 20 A-29 light-attack airplanes to the Afghan air force under the LAS contract. Earlier this year, after the Air Force chose the A-29 over Beechcraft’s AT-6, Beechcraft filed its protest; GAO has until June 17 to rule. Gulick said continued work on the LAS contract during the protest period “honors the US Air Force’s critical and time-sensitive commitment to provide air support capability to the Afghan air force.” In a joint statement, Sierra Nevada and Embraer said the court’s decision “ensures that work will continue uninterrupted on the LAS contract and that we will be able to deliver these aircraft in mid-2014.”