WASHINGTON, March 11 The U.S. Air Force on
Monday defended its decision to award a $428 million contract
for 20 light attack planes to privately held Sierra Nevada Corp
and its Brazilian partner Embraer SA, despite a
renewed protest by Beechcraft Corp.
"We are confident that this decision is well supported and
that the offerors' proposals were fully and fairly evaluated
consistent with the evaluation criteria in the solicitation,"
said spokesman Ed Gulick.
Beechcraft, formerly known as Hawker Beechcraft, on Friday
said it would protest the decision, which followed a new
competition launched last year. Embraer and Sierra Nevada won an
initial $355 million contract in December 2011, but that deal
was scrapped after a challenge from Hawker Beechcraft.