U.S. Air Force selects A-29 Super Tucano to provide light air support, training to Afghanistan military

SPARKS, Nev., 28 Feb. 2013. U.S. Air Force officials needed a combat-proven and cost-effective aircraft to provide light air support, reconnaissance, and training capabilities to the Afghanistan military. They found their solution at Sierra Nevada Corp. (SNC) and partner Embraer Defense and Security.

SNC and Embraer will deliver 20 A-29 Super Tucano aircraft under an initial $427.5 million delivery order within the U.S. Air Force’s Light Air Support (LAS) program.

The A-29 Super Tucano will provide light air support, reconnaissance, and training capabilities to the Afghanistan military, aiding the United States’ withdrawal strategy and helping to maintain security in the region going forward. The LAS program also will provide the United States and other partner nations with important capabilities for agile, flexible, economical, new-generation multi-role airpower.

“The Light Air Support program is essential to the United States’ objectives in Afghanistan and to our national security. It is a great honor to serve our country by providing the aircraft, training and support for this program,” said Taco Gilbert, vice president of Integrated Tactical Solutions for SNC’s Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance business area. “The A-29 Super Tucano with its proven track record is exactly what’s needed for the LAS program where the mission is critical and time is short. We will deliver a superior product, on-time and on-budget.”

The A-29 aircraft for the LAS program will be built in Jacksonville, Fla. The facility at Jacksonville International Airport, with support from the state of Florida and the Jacksonville Airport Authority, is undergoing modifications necessary to receive the aircraft assembly line, to help ensure that production can begin on schedule.

“Through this contract with SNC, we will increase our investment in the United States by creating new jobs and supporting American businesses,” explains Gary Spulak, president of Embraer Aircraft Holding Inc.

In all, the LAS contract will support more than 1,400 American jobs; more than 100 companies will supply parts and services for the A-29 Super Tucano. Embraer will create new high-tech jobs at its production facility in Jacksonville, adding to the 1,200 people Embraer currently employs in the U.S., and new jobs at SNC will add to its U.S. workforce of 2,500 people.

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