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American Weapons Manufacturer Taking U.S. Government to Court for Bid Disqualification

In November I reported on American company Hawker Beechcraft being inexplicably disqualified from bidding on a weapons contract that appears ready to go to a Brazilian company named Embraer, which has questionable ties to America’s enemies.

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.

But Brazil has their own explaining to do regarding their long and sordid history with the rogue country of Iran.

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.”

After I wrote the article, most of the pushback I received was related to whether or not the Brazilian aircraft was superior and therefore deserved the contract.  This painfully misses the point which thankfully, the U.S. government is conveniently highlighting for me.

The point of my original article, which I apparently didn’t make obvious enough, was that Embraer didn’t “win” the contract.  Hawker Beechcraft was disqualified from bidding further without explanation.  The question I had and still have, is why? Thus far responses to all inquiries have been met with the transparency we’ve come to expect from this administration: complete silence, further highlighting the reason to continue asking the question.

Not surprisingly, Hawker seems to feel the same way.

Hawker Beechcraft, which has been excluded by the U.S. Air Force from competing for a contract to supply a new light attack aircraft, is fighting mad and fighting back.

The Wichita-based manufacturer of business jets and turboprops filed suit yesterday with the Court of Federal Claims following notification that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) declined to review its protest of the Air Force decision, which was made public in November.

Hawker goes on to make the case for their product which may or may not be better than the competition.  And perhaps they do have a superior product which would of course raise further questions, but, as is the case with me, some are more curious as to the bidding process that government has mysteriously employed in this situation.

The Taxpayers Protection Alliance is one such group:

The Taxpayers Protection Alliance applauds and supports American aircraft manufacturer Hawker Beechcraft’s federal suit in response to the recent series of outrageous and perplexing actions of awarding the Light Air Support and Light Attack and Armed Reconnaissance (LAS/LAAR) aircraft to the Brazilian company Embraer. By doing this, the Administration will be shipping jobs overseas, and putting a critical defense project in the hands of a hostile, foreign government. This is all at the expense of American taxpayers.

In the contract bid to support the military’s LAS/LAAR aircraft program, our organization has already voiced its support for Hawker Beechcraft over Brazil’s Embraer to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta in two separate letters here and here because of its ability to protect taxpayers and the country.

The abrupt disqualification of Hawker Beechcraft will lead to the awarding of the contract – and the ensuing revenue to American taxpayers – to a foreign company currently under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission for possible violation of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which prohibits companies from bribing foreign government officials or making other illegal payments to obtain or retain business.

The Administration’s awarding of this contract to Embraer would send billions of dollars in taxpayer dollars to Brazil that would otherwise stay in the United States. Hawker Beechcraft is right to file suit with the Court of Federal Claims to help ensure this Administration keeps defense contracting and production on American soil, where they belong.

As is Congressman Tim Huelskamp of Kansas:

(DODGE CITY, KAN.) – Kansas Congressman Tim Huelskamp released the following statement in support of Hawker Beechcraft after it was announced that the company had filed suit following its disqualification from competition for an Air Force Light Air Support (LAS) contract. As a result of the disqualification, the only remaining bidder is believed to be Embraer, a Brazilian company. Hawker Beechcraft had protested the disqualification by requesting a review by the Government Accountability Office, but the review was denied. Hawker Beechcraft has fulfilled similar U.S. Navy and U.S. Air Force contracts for T-6A/B trainer aircraft since 1996. The contracts have been fulfilled in part at the company’s Wichita, Kansas facility.

“It is simply wrong for the Obama Administration to hire a Brazilian company to handle national security when we have a qualified and competent American company that can do the job,” Congressman Huelskamp said. “With millions of Americans out of work, it makes no sense to award the work to a foreign company. Along with my colleagues in the Kansas delegation, I will continue to attempt to right this wrong in order to preserve America’s national and economic security interests.”

According to data provided by Hawker Beechcraft, the AT-6 project supports 1,400 American jobs at 181 companies in 39 states. Additionally, the company has invested more than $100 million in order to meet the Air Force’s requirements for competition.

But as I said, it’s the government that’s really making the case that there is something to investigate here.  No answer is forthcoming when asked why they would disqualify a long time vendor of the U.S. military who happens to be an American company making a potentially superior product which would create 1,400 U.S. jobs.

I’m sure they have a great reason.

Cross-Posted at BenHoweShow.com

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