Embraer to Showcase Super Tucano at Le Bourget


Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer is, for the first time, planning to display it’s A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircraft at the Paris Air Show, which starts next week.

The aircraft on display will be one of two delivered to Mauritania, the African nation that has ordered three of the A-29s. Its first was delivered in October.

The showcase will come fresh off a hard-fought win over rival Beechcraft for Pentagon work.

Since winning the U.S. Air Force’s Light Air Support (LAS) program, worth up to $950 million, Embraer has received renewed requests from nations interested in buying the aircraft, says Luiz Aguiar, president of Embraer ’s defense unit. “It is almost automatic we are going to get more orders as long as we are able to deliver on time ,” Aguiar says. He says the market, not including the U.S., could be as high as $3.5 billion, though he has ordered a study to review the potential in light of the Pentagon win.

Embraer won the LAS contract, initially worth $427 million, for 20 Super Tucanos for Afghanistan, in February with U.S. partner Sierra Nevada. That was the second LAS competition. In the first in 2011, the Air Force excluded Beechcraft from bidding due to noncompliance with the request for proposals, but a protest by Beechcraft opened the door to another duel.

“We are going to prove to [the Air Force ] we are a great supplier. That is the best way to sell” to other nations , Aguiar says.

Meanwhile, work is under way to build a new final assembly facility for the U.S. aircraft in Jacksonville, Fla. The first aircraft should be through the assembly line there by November.

The company is also is expected to announce a development in its relationship with Boeing at next-week’s air show. The pair have been partnered since last year to jointly study the market for Embraer’s KC-390 aerial refueler/transport . Aguiar says the technical work has gone “very well.”

The first of two KC-390 prototypes is expected to roll out late next year.

With critical design review complete, Embraer has released the drawings to the supply chain, which has, in turn, begun fabricating parts.

Embraer is expected to make an announcement about the way forward for the KC-390 at next week’s air show.

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