Congratulations all around.–The Super Tucano has won the LAS competition.

Congratulations all around.–The Super Tucano has won the LAS competition.

“the system worked with honor and integrity on the part of the USAF-Aim High is not just about flying it is also ethics.”

By Ed Timperlake

There is tremendous news for the American/NATO war effort in Afghanistan. With the selection of the Super Tucano, the Afghan Army AF can now begin to develop a combat capable air fleet.

“Department of Justice Attorneys Say Air Force Awarded Light Air Support Contract Last Week;
WICHITA, Kan., Dec. 30, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Hawker Beechcraft learned during this week’s initial status conference at the Court of Federal Claims that the U.S. Air Force awarded the Light Air Support (LAS) contract to the Sierra Nevada Corporation and its Brazilian manufacturer Embraer last week.” (From December 30, 2011, HBC Press Release)

This added capability will give the Afghan Army and Police forces on the ground a significant battle tipping asset. The SuperTucano has already been instrumental in killing some very nasty and deadly warriors.

As Sldinfo has been informing the readers the SuperTucano has been a FARC killing aircraft that in all weather conditions, day or night the SuperT has been validating the tactical and strategic value of airpower in a very nasty war in Colombia.

In addition, closer to America the Dominican Republic Air Force is flying the Super T and is  working with the 12th AF “Doolittle’s Raiders.” That team has swept their skies of aircraft being flown by drug smugglers.

So it is time to reflect on some very good news, the SuperTucano is a proven killer and will be a welcome addition to the fight against the Taliban. .

Unfortunately, there is still some unpleasantness connected with the LAS acquisition process.

The integrity and professional judgement of both the US Air Force and the GAO have been called into question by the Hawker Beechcraft Corporation in federal lawsuit.

Sldforum has already expressed with some dismay that the US lost over a year in starting a program that would help us in disengaging and leave behind in Afghanistan a combat force of great value-both symbolically and practically.

Tragically the HBC Civil Suit now has the potential to yet again slow down support to US and Allied troops in combat.

It is no longer the time to be kind to HBC, since they initiated the action,  they should be prepared to face any adverse consequences as evidence for the suit is acquired by the USG in defending the AF and GAO

Hopefully, the law suit will be addressed quickly, forcefully and in a very direct way and dismissed with prejudice and America and NATO allies can continue to fight and win in Afghanistan with an added resource “cleared in hot” flying into the fight.

Procedurally “The Dog Ate My Homework” defense by HBC is both weak and ridiculous especially being made by an Aviation Manufacturing Firm whoes corporate ethics should have a profound understanding that procedures being followed correctly are literally a matter of life or death in all things aviation..

However, if the lawsuit proceeds  then “who knew what when” on design defects of the prototype AT-6 becomes a critical question .

After reading the GAO determination W.W (Bill) Boisture Chairman and CEO characterized the issues as “minor”, and in their Dec 30 Press Release went so far as to publicly challenged the integrity of the process and their longstanding customer.

“”With this development, it now seems even clearer that the Air Force intended to award the contract to Embraer from early in this process.”

If the law suit is allowed to go forward then all American taxpayers have the right to know ALL the facts. The public record will show HBC’s intention from the start was to try and win this source selection using PR to focus on  jobs and also Brazil bash, they are now trying to influence the court case in public.

The initial requirement—-BACKGROUND AND REQUIREMENTS: LAS aircraft must be a non-developmental item (NDI) that is production-ready. No development or testing funds are available. ” Introduction of LAS Solicitation FA8615-10-R-6088”

To get to the bottom of the issue, it might evolve that  the FBI opens a “Preliminary Inquiry,” (PI) to determine what HBC knew about the prototype AT-6 on the day of submission.  The facts of the case on the technological performance and capabilities of the AT-6 on the day it was entered into the LAS competition can be develop with an easily understood starting point the AF and GAO analysis.

“After reviewing HBDC’s responses to issues raised during discussions, the Air Force concluded that HBDC had not adequately corrected deficiencies in its proposal. In this regard, the agency concluded that “multiple deficiencies and significant weaknesses found in HBDC’s proposal make it technically unacceptable and results in unacceptable mission capability risk.”

ALL the facts will eventually come out.  An official USG request (subpoenas) for all HBC, communications and meeting notes -electronic and paper, along with interviews with HBC principals would quickly show what HBC Management knew about their AT-6 prototype with “multiple deficiencies and significant weaknesses” that make “it technically unacceptable and results in unacceptable mission capability risk.”  prior to submission—

Collecting evidence and producing all the facts for the American taxpayer  can show “intent” –

Did HBC Management with full knowledge submit a “production ready” airplane-when it was not? Which is the foundation for a fraud case.

Or was it just a bad business decision?  —-Flailing about in a public way and simply making bad business decisions is an issue for the capital markets.

Finally taken in context of the  reported HBC emerging dire corporate earnings financial situation it is a very strange strategy to turn their legal guns on the judgement and integeruty of an honorable customer especially in a time of war.

Either  way  the system worked with honor and integrity on the part of the USAF-Aim High is not just about flying it is also ethics.

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