Embraer [ERJ] on Sept. 25 Thursday rolled out its first A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircraft for the Air Force’s Light Air Support (LAS) program.
Embraer and LAS prime contractor Sierra Nevada Corp. (SNC) celebrated the milestone at Embraer’s facility in Jacksonville, Fla. SNC Vice President of Integrated Tactical Solutions for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) Taco Gilbert said during a briefing the first Super Tucano has been accepted by the Air Force and will depart Friday to begin training missions with service pilots and maintainers.
SNC in February 2013 beat out Beechcraft to win a $427 million contract to provide the Air Force with 20 aircraft and assorted spares and training equipment. Beechcraft protested an original 2011 award that led to a lengthy court battle, but ultimately lost the protest effort. SNC’s contract could be worth as much as $950 million if all delivery orders are exercised.
Gary Spulak, president of Embraer Aircraft Holding, said Thursday the first Super Tucano has already achieved its military-type certificate. Embraer started assembling Super Tucanos in January. SNC followed through on its contractual agreement to deliver the first of 20 Super Tucanos by September.
Embraer also has six of its A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircraft in assembly. Spulak said the rollout of the first Super Tucano for LAS officially enters the company into the defense and security market. LAS is to provide light attack aircraft for Afghanistan’s nascent air force.
Embraer is responsible for aircraft assembly while SNC is responsible for program management. SNC will also perform training for both maintainers and flight crews involved with the LAS program. Embraer opened its Jacksonville facility in March.