Back in Court - Beechcraft's LAS Stand

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Beechcraft has filed a lawsuit challenging the US Air Force’s decision to lift the stop-work order on Sierra Nevada's $427.5 million Light Air Support (LAS) contract to supply 20 Embraer A-29 Super Tucanos to the Afghan air force.

The last time Beechcraft (then Hawker Beechcraft) went to court over losing LAS, it resulted in the Air Force restaging the competition - and the company's AT-6 derivative of the T-6 Texan II turboprop trainer losing a second time.

Beechcraft already has filed a protest with the Government Accountability Office (GAO), and has now filed suit in the Court of Federal Claims contesting the Air Force's decision to lift the stop-work order while the GAO is still within its 100-day window for reviewing the protest.

Procedurally, a stop-work order is required to be issued after a GAO protest is filed, but the Air Force said contracting regulations allowed it to overrule the stay "when it is determined to be in the best interests of the United States or unusual and compelling circumstances will not permit waiting for the GAO's decision."

The US has promised to deliver the A-29s to the Afghans by early next year, a hand-over already delayed by the protest and court case that followed the original award of the LAS contract to Sierra Nevada and Embraer at the end of 2011. After the stop-work was lifted on March 15, Embraer signed a lease on a hangar in Jacksonville, Florida, where the A-29s for Afghanistan are to be assembled.

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