Air Force light air support contract now expected next week

An Air Force decision on who will be awarded a light air support contract is now expected sometime next week, Beechcraft spokeswoman Nicole Alexander said.

The company had expected a decision on Friday, but has been told there has been a slight delay.

The contract for 20 aircraft for the Afghan air force is expected to total about $350 million.

There are two bidders. Wichita-based Beechcraft Corp., formerly Hawker Beechcraft, has proposed its AT-6 attack aircraft, a version of its T-6 trainer, for the project. Sierra Nevada Corp., meanwhile, has partnered with Brazil-based Embraer to offer its Super Tucano.

The planes are to provide the Afghan National Army Air Corp. with a fixed-wing strike capability. They are to be delivered over five years.

The effort to secure a contract has taken nearly three years and has been fraught with delays and legal challenges.