Super Tucano Picked as Light Air Support Platform

The Air Force selected the A-29 Super Tucano as the Light Air Support platform, awarding Sierra Nevada of Sparks, Nev., a $355 million contract to supply 20 Super Tucanos and associated equipment and support services. The Air Force is procuring these aircraft for the Afghan air force to serve in roles like advanced flight training, aerial reconnaissance, and light air support. Sierra Nevada is teamed with Brazil’s Embraer, the Super Tucano manufacturer. Embraer will build the aircraft in Jacksonville, Fla., with delivery expected by the end of April 2014. “We are honored by this decision and the opportunity to serve our country,” said Taco Gilbert, Sierra Nevada executive, in the company’s release on Dec. 30, the same day as the LAS award notice. Meanwhile, Hawker Beechcraft announced that it expects to learn as soon as Jan. 11 whether a federal judge will grant the company’s request for a temporary restraining order to preclude the Air Force from moving forward with LAS. Hawker last week filed a federal suit against the Air Force after the Government Accountability Office dismissed the company’s protest over the Air Force’s exclusion of the company’s AT-6 aircraft from further consideration. (DOD’s Dec. 30 list of major contracts)