Feds Override Beechcraft Appeal Of LAS Contract

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The Pentagon invoked a rarely used power in overriding a congressional review of Beechcraft's second appeal of the loss of a contract to the U.S. Air Force. Citing "unusual and compelling circumstances," the Pentagon told Embraer to get going on supplying 20 Super Tucano light air support aircraft to the Afghanistan Air Force and ignore Beechcraft's appeal. The Air Force picked the Super Tucano for a second time over the Beechcraft AT6B in January after the former Hawker Beechcraft successfully appealed the first contract award. Beechcraft protested the latest contract award to the Government Accountability Office but the Pentagon action stopped that process cold. Beechcraft says it's considering its options and has issued a statement critical of the Pentagon's action, calling it "misguided."

Meanwhile, Embraer has signed a 10-year lease on a 40,000-square-foot building in Jacksonville to finish the aircraft as part of its deal with the primary contractor, Sierra Nevada Corp. Embraer said the facility will create up to 1,400 new jobs. The Jacksonville facility will assemble the aircraft and install the military hardware. While Kansas politicians are decrying the decision, Florida officials are naturally pleased with the way things worked out. "A great team came together to make a solid case for building this plane in Northeast Florida, resulting in a 'win - win' for the First Coast economy and our national defense," said Congressman Ander Crenshaw, R-Fla., who represents Florida's 4th congressional district.