The Air Force Feb. 27 awarded a $427,459,708.00 contract to Sierra Nevada Corp. to provide light air support aircraft and associated maintenance and training for the Afghan air force.
Under this contract, 20 aircraft are scheduled to be delivered to operational air bases in Afghanistan beginning in the summer of 2014 to conduct advanced flight training, surveillance, close air support and air interdiction missions.
The contract requirements call for a known, predominantly stable design due to austere conditions, the possibility for immediate combat needs and the substantial learning curve of the potential partner nation pilots.
“I am confident that the source selection process was disciplined and meticulous, and we are excited to provide a much-needed capability to our Afghan partners,” said Lt. Gen. CR Davis, Military Deputy, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition.
Initially awarded to Sierra Nevada Corp in December 2011, the Air Force issued a stop-work order in February 2012 and terminated the contract in March 2012 during the Hawker Beechcraft Court of Federal Claims protest and after an internal Air Force investigation turned up documentation deficiencies in the source selection paperwork.
As part of the Air Force’s corrective action, a new LAS source selection team was appointed, source selection training was reinforced across the Air Force acquisition community, and oversight alignment and effectiveness was improved.
The Air Force restarted the LAS acquisition as quickly as possible in order to be responsive to the Afghan requirement and issued an amended request for proposals in May 2012.
The first aircraft delivery to Afghanistan, as required by the updated request for proposal, is anticipated to begin in Summer 2014 at a rate of two aircraft per month.