The Air Force has notified Hawker Beechcraft Corp. that its Beechcraft AT-6 has been excluded from competition to build a light attack aircraft, a contract worth nearly $1 billion, the company said.
The company had been working with the Air Force for two years and spent over $100 million to ensure compliance with the requirements for the plane and says the craft (Beechcraft AT-6) met all requirements as shown through a demonstration actually led by the Air National Guard.
“We have followed the Air Force’s guidance close, and based on what we have seen, we continue to believe that we submitted the most capable, affordable and sustainable light attack aircraft,” the company said.
Keep in mind, this doesn’t appear to be a question of being outbid or outclassed. In fact, this seems to be a classic example of a contract being awarded without any bidding process at all, something you may remember infuriated the left when the recipient of the contract was American company Haliburton.
There’s a big difference this time. The company the no-bid contract went to isn’t an American company. Worse yet, the company it did go to has questionable friends. Namely, Iran.
Embraer, a Brazilian aerospace giant which is currently under investigation for potentially making illegal payments to obtain government contracts, is essentially owned by the Brazilian government. Through their “Golden Share,” Brazil essentially has control over the company’s business operations.
According to Embraer’s website, that Golden Share provision empowers the Brazilian government with veto rights over: “Creation and/or alteration of military programs, whether or not involving the Federative Republic of Brazil;” “Development of third parties´ skills in technology for military programs;” and “Interruption of the supply of maintenance and replacement parts for military aircraft,” among other things.
According to the Council on Hemispheric Affairs, “In 1989, Brazil chose to sell Tucanos, Embraer’s relatively low cost and basic military aircraft, to Iran.” Currently, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Air Force operates around 40 Embraer T-27 Tucanos, according to the Washington Institute. In fact, the Iranians use the Tucano as their primary close air support aircraft.
In recent years, Brazil has continued its troubling friendship with Iran and ruthless leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The Hudson Institute notes that, “Another area of tension between Brazil and the United States relates to Iran. In November 2009, President da Silva invited Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Brazil. In May 2010, da Silva helped broker a deal in which Iran would ship only a portion of its low-enriched uranium to Turkey for reprocessing; the rest would remain in Iranian hands, where it could be further enriched for nuclear weapon production.”
According to the Financial Times, building war planes is actually part of an industry that Embraer is fairly new to as they are only just “venturing into the defence industry.” Yet, the U.S. government has found them to be more capable and trustworthy than an American manufacturer that already builds hundreds of U.S. military aircrafts and would employ as many as 1,400 new workers across 20 states.
To make matters worse, Hawker was already experiencing trouble as a result of the tumultuous economy and had already announced potential layoffs. With news that they won’t be offered the opportunity to compete as the only American manufacturer for the light air craft contract, expect more bad news to come out of their offices.
Of course, the employees of Hawker Beechraft may not be on President Obama’s nice list these days anyway. It turns out that Hawker Beechcraft employees are represented by the International Association of Machinists (IAM). IAM president, Tom Buffenbarger, is one of the few union presidents without direct access to the White House. Here’s why:
For the video impaired, here’s the takeaway:
“Barack so loved his own performance that he made Galesburg part of his presidential stump speech. That’s right, he’s damn proud of his performance. Well I’m not. All he proved is like Janus, the two-faced Roman god of ancient times. He could act like a friend to the workin’ man. Even as he danced to tune dictated by billionaires. Yes, we’ve seen this act before.”
Curious that the Obama administration would push an American manufacturing company who’d been trusted in the past in favor of a company run by a government directly involved in the continuing move towards nuclear capabilities by the nation most hostile to American interests.
Then again, with a President that is known for awarding favors to allies and punishing enemies that don’t kiss the ring, perhaps it’s not that surprising at all.
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