GENEVA — The relaunch of the U.S. Air Force’s Light Air Support aircraft competition is getting a mixed response from Super Tucano-maker .
There is some measure of disappointment that the fly-off that was part in the previous competition—won by a Sierra Nevada/Embraer team over theAT-6 entry—was dropped.
But on the other hand, there appears to be greater emphasis on having a system with strong past performance in counter-insurgency operations, says Embraer CEO Frederico Fleury Curado. “That should favor us,” he notes.
Curado says he believes the Pentagon when it says this will be a fair competition.
The previous contract was thrown out after Hawker Beechcraft protested irregularities in the government’s decision-making process. Hawker Beechcraft says it too continues to work on its AT-6 and preparing its bid, according to the company’s executive vice president for customers, Shawn Vick.
Bids from the two rivals are due in June. A contract award is not expected until January, though.