Photo credit © Sierra Nevada
Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) and Embraer Defense & Security today presented the first United States-built A-29 Super Tucano light air support aircraft in a roll-out ceremony with the U.S. Air Force and government officials, industry and community representatives, and news media. The aircraft, which also performs as an outstanding advanced trainer, is the first of 20 that are being delivered to the U.S. Air Force for its Light Air Support (LAS) program to support the stability of Afghanistan as it assumes increased responsibility for security with the redeployment of NATO forces.
“The Light Air Support program is critical to the U.S. objectives in Afghanistan and to our national security. SNC, as the prime contractor, is proudly serving our country through its strategic partnership with Embraer by providing a superior aircraft, exceptional training and expert support and maintenance for this U.S. Air Force program,” said SNC’s Chief Executive Officer Fatih Ozmen. “We look forward to continuing to deliver on time and on budget this important capability for Afghanistan now and into the future to ensure both the successful withdrawal of U.S. troops and the safety and security of the entire region.”
“The Super Tucano is a robust and powerful turboprop aircraft capable of carrying out a wide range of missions and, in more than ten years of operations, it has confirmed to be a cost-effective airpower solution for nations around the world,” said President and CEO Embraer Defense & Security Jackson Schneider. “These characteristics, along with its well-proven combat record, make it highly reliable and the logical choice for the LAS mission.”
“This first aircraft delivery is a significant milestone for the A-29 program,” said U.S. Air Force Brigadier General Eric Fick. “This delivery represents the birth of an important capability for Afghanistan, and we are very pleased Sierra Nevada Corporation and Embraer were able to deliver the aircraft on time to meet the start of Air Advisor Training at Moody Air Force Base.”
“Jacksonville has long been known as a military aviation center of excellence, a reputation that takes center stage once again with the roll out of the A-29 Super Tucano aircraft,” said Congressman Ander Crenshaw, member of the U.S. House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. “Built by a highly-skilled and expert team, this aircraft is vital to securing Afghanistan and that region of the world. We can all be proud of the work behind the assembly of the Super Tucano – work that supports our national security at home and around the globe and helps keep our local and regional economy strong.”
On Feb. 27, 2013 the U.S. Air Force awarded the LAS contract to SNC to supply 20 Embraer A-29 Super Tucano aircraft as well as ground training devices, pilot and maintenance training and logistic support. The aircraft will be used to provide light air support, reconnaissance and training capabilities to the Afghanistan military. In March 2013, Embraer officially opened a 40,000-square-foot facility in Jacksonville, Florida, to produce the LAS aircraft and to date has hired 72 employees. The facility in Jacksonville performs pre-equipping, mechanical assembly, structural assembly, systems installation and testing, and flight testing of A-29 aircraft. Through the LAS program, SNC and Embraer support more than 1,400 jobs with more than 100 companies throughout the United States.
The Super Tucano is a light air support turboprop aircraft with advanced training capabilities currently used by nine air forces in Africa, Asia Pacific and Latin America. After more than ten years in action, the Super Tucano has gained an excellent performance record: over 230,000 flight hours and 31,000 combat hours. Embraer has received more than 210 firm orders and has delivered more than 170 aircraft. For more information, visit www.BuiltForTheMission.com.