March 8, 2013 — The United States Air Force for a second time has selected the A-29 for the Light Air Support (LAS) mission. In announcing the award, the Air Force stated “this award is the result of a full and open competition” and Lt. Gen. C.R. Davis, military deputy for acquisition in Air Force headquarters said, “I am confident that the source selection process was disciplined and meticulous.” Even Beechcraft’s CEO commented on the care and professionalism of the USAF’s selection process. In fact, this was a completely new evaluation process, conducted by a new team and overseen by a three-star general.
In evaluating the competitors, the U.S. Air Force looked at three criteria, in priority order: mission capability, past performance and pricing in order to determine overall best value.
The A-29 received an exceptional rating on technical capability and low-risk in all other categories. Only the A-29 Super Tucano is operational and performing light air support missions today. Its capabilities and long track record are fully known and demonstrated. The past performances of SNC and Embraer are equally strong and proven. Based on these factors we are confident the Air Force selected the A-29 as the lowest risk solution for the U.S. and its partner nations and overall best value.
In accordance with the RFP, the U.S. Air Force selected the A-29 based on three factors stated above, not just a single factor. The Air Force determined that the price they are paying for the superior A-29 aircraft was part of the “overall best value.” We look forward to another rapid Government Accounting Office decision on Beechcraft’s protest.
An important aspect about our approach is the “in-sourcing” of jobs to Jacksonville, Florida. We feel it establishes an exciting future model of bringing high tech aerospace manufacturing jobs back to the United States to stem the recent tide of moving jobs offshore. The A-29 aircraft for the LAS program will be built in Jacksonville, Fla. The SNC award will support more than 1,400 American jobs, reflecting both the large U.S. supplier base – more than 100 companies will supply parts and services for the A-29 Super Tucano – and new jobs that will be created by SNC and Embraer. Embraer will create new high-tech jobs at its production facility in Jacksonville, adding to the 1,200 people Embraer currently employs in the United States, and new jobs at SNC will add to its U.S. workforce of 2,500 people.
The A-29 Super Tucano is the right choice for the mission, the warfighter, the U.S. taxpayer, the American workers and our partner nations. Given the strength of our proposal and the thoroughness of the U.S. Air Force’s evaluation process, it is unfortunate that Beechcraft is now protesting the Light Air Support (LAS) contract award once again.
The need for this aircraft was critical a year ago and more so today. SNC and Embraer are moving forward and preparing to begin operations in Jacksonville.