By Jim Wolf
WASHINGTON Feb 27 Brazil's Embraer bested
U.S.-based Beechcraft in a high-stakes U.S. Air Force
recompetition for 20 light air support planes to be provided to
the Afghan military for training and counterinsurgency.
Embraer and its U.S.-based partner, Sierra Nevada, were
awarded a $427.5 million deal, the Pentagon announced after the
close of business on Wednesday.
The pair had won an initial $355 million contract in
December 2011, but it was scrapped after a legal challenge from
the losing bidder, then known as Hawker Beechcraft.
Brazilian leaders had voiced displeasure with the sudden
cancellation, saying it would not be conducive to strengthening
security ties with the United States.
Brazil's air force plans to buy 36 new fighter jets, and
Chicago-based Boeing Co 's F/A-18 Super Hornet is one of
three finalists along with the Saab JAS-39 Gripen of Sweden and
the Dassault Rafale of France.
Wichita, Kansas-based Beechcraft, which emerged from a
Chapter 11 restructuring this month, said it was disappointed to
have lost the competition.
"We will meet with the (U.S. Air Force) for a full debrief
of the award and determine our next steps forward at that time,"
Nicole Alexander, a company spokeswoman, said in an emailed