The U.S. Air Force (USAF) announced that it has selected the Embraer Defense and Security´s A-29 Super Tucano for its Light Air Support (LAS) program. The aircraft will be supplied in partnership with Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) as the prime contractor, and will be used to conduct advanced flight training, aerial reconnaissance, and light air support operations.
After a thorough rebidding process, the USAF considered the overall solution offered by Embraer Defense and Security and SNC to be the superior choice for this critical mission.
“This award confirms that the A-29 Super Tucano is the best aircraft for LAS operations. We are ready to start working and honored to support the U.S. Government and its partners with a cost-effective solution,” said Luiz Carlos Aguiar, President and CEO of Embraer Defense and Security. “We are committed to pursuing our investment strategy in the United States and to delivering these aircraft on schedule and within budget.”
“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.”
As specified by the U.S. Air Force, this is a USD 427 million contract for 20 Light Air Support (LAS) aircraft, as well as ground-based devices to support pilot training and all maintenance and supply requirements for the aircraft and associated equipment. The aircraft selected for the LAS program will be built in Jacksonville, Florida.
The A-29 Super Tucano is a robust, versatile and powerful turboprop aircraft capable of carrying out a wide range of missions, including close air support and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance. The airplane is in use with nine air forces around the world and, for more than five years, has employed state-of-the-art munitions on real operational missions. More than 190 Super Tucanos have been ordered, and over 170 delivered. The aircraft has logged more than 180,000 flight hours and 28,000 combat hours. It is equipped with advanced electronic, electro-optic, infrared and laser system technologies, as well as secure radio systems with data links and unrivalled munitions capacity. This makes it highly reliable and allows for an excellent cost-benefit ratio for a wide range of military missions, even operating from unpaved runways and in hostile environments. These characteristics, along with its proven combat record, make it the logical choice for the LAS mission.