The PJ Tatler

Breaking: Air Force Sets Aside Controversial Light Air Support Contract

An email from the USAF, which the Tatler has obtained from a source on the Hill, says that the Air Force is reevaluating its controversial Light Air Support (LAS) decision. The email, which went out today from Air Force’s Senate Liaison office, also promises an investigation:

Today, the Air Force advised the Department of Justice that it will take corrective action on the Afghanistan Light Air Support Contract and will set aside the contract award to Sierra Nevada effective March 2, 2012.

The Secretary of the Air Force relays the following message:  “While we pursue perfection, we sometimes fall short, and when we do we will take corrective action.   Since the acquisition is still in litigation, I can only say that the Air Force Senior Acquisition Executive is not satisfied with the quality of the documentation supporting the award decision.” Additionally, General Donald Hoffman, commander of Air Force Materiel Command, has initiated a Commander Directed Investigation into the matter.

The Air Force disqualified American aircraft manufacturer Hawker Beechcraft’s AT-6 under suspicious circumstances late last year. That decision benefited Brazil’s Embraer, a foreign firm controlled by the Brazilian government and with ties to the Iranian government. Hawker protested its disqualification, the Government Accounting Office declined to review the decision, and Hawker took the government to court.

The contract could be worth up to $1 billion, and create about 1,400 jobs. Most of those jobs would go to Brazil if Embraer gets the contract.