Griffin: Obama Administration’s Contract Decision Is ‘Baffling’

Congressman Tim Griffin (AR-02) issued the following statement after sending U.S. Air Force Secretary Michael B. Donley a letter, asking him to explain why the Administration excluded American-owned Hawker Beechcraft Defense Company, LLC (HBDC) from its light air support aircraft competition, and awarded the contract to Brazilian-owned Embraer S.A.:                                      

“The Administration’s decision to award a contract for light air support aircraft to Brazilian-owned Embraer S.A. after excluding the American-owned Hawker Beechcraft from the competition is baffling.  Hawker Beechcraft is a trusted supplier to the U.S. military and a leader in Arkansas’s aerospace industry.  I haven’t been able to get a straight answer from the Administration, but it is imperative that they be completely transparent with Congress about why an American company was inexplicably excluded from this competition.  I have requested Secretary Donley to examine the circumstances that led to this decision and provide me with an explanation of the Administration’s rationale in the clearest terms possible.” 

A copy of Rep. Griffin’s letter to Sec. Donley can be found here

After a year-long process in which HBDC submitted its proposal and worked closely with U.S. Air Force officials to tailor it to address varied requirements, the Administration chose to exclude HBDC from the contract competition.  Even more concerning, HBDC was unable to appeal the decision because the Administration failed to give them proper notification.  Prior to the Administration’s exclusion of HBDC, the competition for the light air support aircraft contract was a closely fought contest between the American-owned HBDC’s AT-6B and the Brazilian-owned Embraer S.A.’s Super Tucano.  HBDC’s exclusion left Embraer S.A. as the only possible producer for the aircraft.  On December 30, 2011, the Administration awarded the contract to Embraer S.A.