From our content partner, the Arkansas News Bureau:

U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin, R-Little Rock, is questioning why the U.S. Air Force awarded a $355 million contract to a foreign competitor of Hawker Beechcraft, which has a plant in Little Rock.

“I haven’t been able to get a straight answer from the administration, but it is imperative that they be completely transparent with Congress about why an American company was inexplicably excluded from this competition,” Griffin said.

Hawker Beechcraft, which has an aircraft completion plant at the Little Rock airport, has filed a legal challenge against a decision to exclude the company from a competition to supply the Air Force with light air support aircraft.

During a recent status conference at the Court of Federal Claims, the Wichita-based company learned the contract was awarded to Sierra Nevada Corp., of Sparks, Nev., for 20 Embraer EMB-314 Super Tucanos. Embraer, a Brazilian company, intends to manufacture the aircraft in the United States.

Hawker Beechcraft is seeking a temporary restraining order to preclude the Air Force from moving forward in the contract process. A ruling on the request is expected by Jan. 11. The Air Force, meanwhile, issued a stop work order on Wednesday on the Light Air Support contract as a result of the litigation.

Air Force officials say they are confident that the contract was awarded properly and with merit. You can read more on the matter at this link.

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