Hawker Beechcraft protests over USAF decision to dismiss AT-6 bid

Hawker Beechcraft will take action against the US Air Force for dismissing the AT-6 Texan II from a selection process only days before the scheduled award of the light air support (LAS) contract.

The company will “request [a] review” after being informed in a letter of the AT-6’s elimination, according to a statement issued by the US-based airframer. As of 20 November, the company was still considering its legal options.

via Hawker Beechcraft protests over USAF decision to dismiss AT-6 bid.

Well, there’s a real shocker. I never did spot a reason listed for dropping Beechcraft from the competition. Sure, the DoD would like to entice Brazil to buy the F-18, but unless there’s a real pressing technical reason why Beech couldn’t get a valid airframe working, the decision stunk to high heaven.

I’m generally in favor of banning any contractor that sues for eternity. But it’s crap like this that shows that they NEED the ability to hold politically influenced contracting decisions to some accountability.

3 thoughts on “Hawker Beechcraft protests over USAF decision to dismiss AT-6 bid”

  1. My understanding of the situation is that the Super Tucano is the genuinely superior aircraft. Isn’t that the case?

    1. I think they’re pretty close. But the US already operates T-6’s as trainers. Training, maintenance and logistics would be simplified by using Texans. I’m firmly of the opinion that either plane would be better than no planes.

      Oddly, for a program geared to providing planes to A’stan and other partner nations, no one seems to have asked them which plane they prefer.

  2. The T-6 is an Americanized Swiss trainer. During the JPATS development and fly off there were many who felt that the T-6 was not the best plane. Cessna’s entry was superior in meeting the bid specifications. It was a tremendous aerobatic platform and could recover from a spin on a particular heading.

    These bids are made public to give the appearance of giving the best platform a chance to move forward. Years ago when the Air Force purchased Lear jets instead of Cessna Citations the official answer was that on the specified leg length the Lear was 1 minute faster. Cessna offered a better life cycle cost and a better maintenance package. The real reason is that the colonel in charge of the selection didn’t want to finish the day looking at rudder pedals with a Cessna logo on them.

    And that is how the Air Force makes weapons system selections.

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