January 5, 2012
The $355 million U.S. Department of Defense contract awarded last week that would allow Embraer to build the Super Tucano military aircraft at Jacksonville International Airport and create 50 jobs was put on hold Wednesday by the Air Force, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Sierra Nevada Corp. was awarded the contract after its main competitor, Wichita, Kan.-based Hawker Beechcraft, was excluded in a “pre-award exclusion.” Hawker Beechcraft filed suit against the U.S. government Dec. 27 seeking answers for its exclusion and contesting the decision.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the Air Force put a temporary “stop-work” order to Sierra Nevada on Wednesday. Lt. Wesley Miller, an Air Force spokesman, said the Air Force was “confident in the merits of its contract award decision and anticipates the litigation will be quickly resolved,” according to the paper.
Sierra Nevada Corp. also released a statement in response to the stop-work order.
“We remain confident that the issue will resolved expeditiously,” said the company. “The A-29 Super Tucano, built in America, is the right solution for the LAS mission.”
Jerry Mallot, JAXUSA Partnership president, said last week that protests from companies that do not win such contracts are “almost automatic.” The Hawker lawsuit was a different course of action due to its inability to file a formal protest, he said.
“We’re not worried because Embraer had the best product,” Mallot said last week.