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Beechcraft Protest Fails

A federal agency has rejected Wichita-based Beechcraft's protest of the award of an Air Force contract to another company.

The contract for light air support planes was given to Sierra Nevada Corp. and its Brazil-based partner, Embraer.

Both companies issued statements Thursday announcing the decision by the Government Accountability Office. It's the latest development in a high-stakes competition that has taken nearly three years with legal challenges from both sides.

The contract for 20 planes for use in Afghanistan is worth more than $427 million. It could be worth as much as $1 billion, depending on future orders.

Sierra Nevada and Embraer lauded the decision as a win for U.S. forces and allies in Afghanistan.

But Beechcraft is calling for Congress to step in and limit the purchase to only the portion covered by the first delivery order.