Hawker Beechcraft Sues U.S. Over Aircraft Contract Exclusion

Hawker Beechcraft Co., the jet maker part-owned by Goldman Sachs Group Inc., said a unit asked a federal judge to block the U.S. Air Force from awarding an almost $1 billion contract for light attack aircraft, claiming the government won’t say why it was excluded from consideration.

Hawker Beechcraft Defense Co. sued the U.S. today in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims in Washington challenging the Air Force’s exclusion of the Beechcraft AT-6 from the Light Air Support competition. The lawsuit was filed after the U.S. Government Accountability Office on Dec. 22 dismissed the company’s bid protest.

“We were relying on their investigation to provide transparency into what has been a bidding process of inconsistent, irregular and constantly changing requirements,” Bill Boisture, chairman and chief executive officer of Hawker Beechcraft Co., said in an e-mailed statement. We “continue to believe that our exclusion from this important contract was made without basis in process or fact,” he added.

The company claims that it worked closely with the Air Force and has spent more than $100 million over the past two years preparing to meet the contract requirements, according to the statement.

The Air Force, in a one page memorandum, notified the company on Nov. 1 that the AT-6 was excluded from consideration, according to a court filing.

Laura Sweeney, a Justice Department spokeswoman, declined to comment on the lawsuit.

The case is Hawker Beechcraft Defense Company LLC v. U.S., 11-897, U.S. Court of Federal Claims (Washington).

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