The US Congressional Committee On Oversight and Government Reform is investigating the proposed sale by L-3 of 12 Air Tractor AT-802L aircraft to Kenya after opposition from US Congressman Ted Budd.
In a letter dated 18 May, the Committee On Oversight And Government Reform sent a letter to Heather Wilson, Secretary of the Air Force, stating that “A recent news account reported the potential that a major Foreign Military Sales (FMS) contract was negotiated between the United States and Kenya for the sale of 12 weaponized border [patrol] planes. The US Air Force selected New York-based L-3 Technologies for the proposed contract at a cost of $418 million. The Committee is interested in learning more about the decision to award this contract despite evidence that L-3 has no weaponized border patrol aircraft in service and has limited past performance in manufacturing aircraft of this type.”
The letter also suggested the US Air Force selected the airframe “on a basis inconsistent with established protocol” relating to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification.
“Given the national security implications of such a FMS sale, we would like to learn more about the US Air Force’s pattern of acquisition with regard to weaponized border patrol planes,” the Committee said, and requested documents by 2 June 2017 on the proposed Kenyan contract, as well as similar US Air Force contracts over the last five years. The Committee also requested documents on the performance of L-3 airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) platforms assessed and acquired by the US military.
The Committee is also seeking documents in an attempt to find out more about US Air Force contracts with L-3 and IOMAX as IOMAX is challenging the proposed Kenyan sale via Congressman Budd, who represents the district in which IOMAX is based. In February, Budd introduced a motion to stop the sale pending a Government Accountability Office (GAO) audit and oversight investigation into the deal.
IOMAX claims that L-3 and Air Tractor have misrepresented the AT-802U/L/OA-8 Longsword and that IOMAX’s Archangel aircraft can be supplied to Kenya at a much lower price. Kenya is also looking to acquire two Air Tractor AT-504 trainers.
“We’ll soon find out if this flawed sale is the result of incompetence, or if there is something more serious going on,” Budd said earlier this month.