Mayor caught off guard by stalled plane contract

Published On: Dec 30 2011 05:28:09 PM EST
Updated On: Feb 29 2012 01:33:59 PM EST
Embraer EMB 314 Super Tucano

Embraer A-29 Super Tucano

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

Mayor Alvin Brown said he was caught off guard when the Air Force reversed its decision on a $355 million contract to assemble military aircraft in Jacksonville.

The contract would have brought 50 high-paying jobs to assemble the Super Tucano at Jacksonville International Airport.

The company Embraer won the contract late last year, but in January, the Air Force froze it.

A company out of Kansas called Hawker Beechcraft was also competing for the contract. It sued, saying it was wrongly excluded from the bidding.

Now the Air Force said it's reconsidering Hawker Beechcraft.

"Those planes need to be built. It's a need. The military said it's a need," Brown said. "So the question is, who is going to build them. And I'm hoping those planes are built right here in Jacksonville, at Jacksonville International Airport."

Brown said the Air Force is expected to brief him and the congressional delegation about why its reversed decision happened.

Brown said he will remain hopeful the contract will follow through as originally planned.

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