Embraer Delivers First a-29 to US Air Force
Miami (AFP) - Brazilian aviation firm Embraer said Thursday that it had delivered the first of 20 light-attack aircraft to the US Air Force, for use in Afghanistan after the NATO troop withdrawal.
The A-29 Super Tucano was presented at a ceremony in Jacksonville, Florida where Embraer and its US-based partner Sierra Nevada Corporation are building the aircraft.
The $427 million contract to build the 20 Super Tucanos, a turboprop craft for light missions and pilot training, was announced in February 2013.
The awarding of the contract to Embraer provoked a challenge early on from US aviation firm Beechcraft, which alleged irregularities in the bidding process.
“The Super Tucano is a robust and powerful turboprop aircraft capable of carrying out a wide range of missions and, in more than 10 years of operations, it has confirmed to be a cost-effective airpower solution for nations around the world,” said Jackson Schneider, president and CEO of Embraer’s defense division.
Beechcraft’s promotional campaign for its cobbled together competitor, a derivative of their T-6 Texan II trainer, was a model of corporate duplicity. They framed it as the “American” entry, vs. the “foreign” competitor from Brazil, though in fact the AT-6 is a Swiss design and the planes were to be built at a new plant in Mexico. Note that the “foreign” AT-29 is built in Jacksonville, Florida. Beech also boasted that the combat version of their plane would be “American developed.” This was not true of the competing Embraer only because the combat version was already developed, ready to go, and had in fact been in action for over 10 years in various places.