Lawmakers right to be defiant on defense contract

Members of the Kansas delegation have the right attitude about last week’s confirmation that the Defense Department, having inexplicably dismissed Hawker Beechcraft’s AT-6 bid, awarded the $355 million light air support contract to Brazilian planemaker Embraer and U.S. contractor Sierra Nevada. Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Wichita, called it “troubling that the United States Air Force would rather have these fighter aircraft built in another country, when jobs are needed so badly here at home. I will continue to fight for answers on this matter and remain committed to the men and women at Hawker Beechcraft who build world-class aircraft.” Before the announcement late last week, Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Fowler, was similarly defiant: “It is simply wrong for the Obama administration to hire a Brazilian company to handle national security when we have a qualified and competent American company that can do the job.” Hawker filed suit last week over the “pre-award exclusion” of its bid, which the Air Force has not explained.