It didn’t take long for the U.S. and Brazil to resume talks about a U.S. Air Force light air support contract after the Air Force last week canceled the award made to Sierra Nevada Corp. and Brazil-based Embraer, according to Defense News.
Brazilian Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota had a “cordial and frank” conversation with U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns at a meeting in Brasilia, Brazil, March 2, the report said.
The conversation followed a warning by the Brazilian government that the cancellation could damage military relations.
“The Brazilian government learnt with surprise of the suspension of the bid process” the foreign ministry said, according to the Financial Times. “This development is not considered conducive to strengthening relations between the two countries on defense affairs.”
The Air Force canceled the $355 million contract for 20 Embraer-built Super Tucanos last week after Hawker Beechcraft filed suit alleging problems with he acquisition process.
“The doors are not closed, the issue was the subject of discussion and there is still a possibility that the plans will be sold to the United States,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Tovar Nunes told Defense News.
The contract was canceled a month before an official visit to the United States by Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, the report said.
“Burns clearly said there was no hostility on the American side with regard to Brazilian interests,” the spokesman told Defense News. “It was not a matter of a definitive decision that could close the doors” to a negotiation.
The Air Force excluded Hawker Beechcraft from the competition in November and awarded the contract to Sierra Nevada the following month.
Hawker Beechcraft and members of the Kansas delegation have been asking the Air Force for a debriefing on the reasons behind the exclusion without success.
In January, the company filed a lawsuit regarding the acquisition process.
Last week, the Air Force canceled the contract and launched an investigation.
A court document said the Air Force intends to reinstate Hawker Beechcraft to a “competitive range,” accept new proposals from Hawker and Sierra Nevada, conduct meaningful discussions with the parties and re-evaluate proposals, the Financial Times said. It also reserves the right to conduct a new competition.