Embraer [ERJ] said Friday it signed a 10-year lease on a 40,000 square foot facility at Jacksonville International Airport, Fla., where it will produce its A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircraft for the Air Force’s Light Air Support (LAS) program for Afghanistan.

The facility will perform pre-equipping, mechanical assembly, structural assembly, systems installation and testing and flight testing of the A-29. Embraer is producing the A-29s for Sierra Nevada Defense Corp. (SNC), which in February was awarded a $427 million contract by the Air Force to provide 20 A-29s for Afghanistan’s nascent air force (Defense Daily, Feb. 28).

Losing LAS bidder Beechcraft is protesting the Air Force’s award. The Air Force directed SNC and Embraer to start work on the A-29s despite Beechcraft’s protest (Defense Daily, March 18).

This is the second time Beechcraft has protested the Air Force’s LAS award to SNC.