The US Air Force has awarded a controversial US$355 million contract to Embraer to supply 20 A-29 Super Tucano turboprops for Afghanistan’s nascent air force.
The deal is a major victory for Embraer as the Brazilian planemaker seeks to expand its business in the US. Embraer fought off US based Hawker Beechcraft, which has filed a lawsuit over the exclusion of its AT-6 from the bidding process. Hawker said it would continue its efforts to block the deal.
The A-29, designed as a reconnaissance and light attack platform for use in counterinsurgency missions, is already in service with several Latin American countries. Embraer has said the US deal would amount to a seal of approval as it seeks to market the aircraft elsewhere.
The 20 A-29s destined for Afghanistan will be built in Florida by prime contractor Sierra Nevada. Embraer last month delivered its first US built business jet after opening a production facility in Florida early last year.