The U.S. Air Force today announced that it has selected the A-29 Super Tucano, produced by Embraer Defense and Security, for the 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.
“This opportunity to serve the US Government with the best product for the LAS mission, under the leadership of the Sierra Nevada Corporation as the prime contractor, honors us,” said Luiz Carlos Aguiar, CEO of Embraer Defense and Security. “We are committed to pursuing our U.S. investment strategy and to delivering the A-29 Super Tucano on schedule and within the budget.”
As specified by the Air Force, this is a firm-fixed price delivery order contract in the amount of $355 million for the Light Air Support (LAS) aircraft and associated support. Twenty LAS aircraft will be provided, as well as ground training devices to support pilot training and support for all maintenance and supply requirements for the aircraft and associated support equipment.
“We are honored by this decision and the opportunity to serve our country,” said Taco Gilbert, Vice President of ISR Business Development at SNC. “We believe in the goals of the Light Air Support mission and are proud to be able to support the United States in its partner-building efforts in Afghanistan and elsewhere around the world. American warfighters, American workers, and our partner nations all win with this award.”
The LAS mission requires a non-developmental solution that provides the versatility, engagement, and persistence that the warfighter needs in a counterinsurgency environment, at a significantly lower cost than fighter jets. That aircraft must offer intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities; deliver a wide variety of munitions (including precision guided weapons); and operate in extremely rugged terrain and austere conditions.
The A-29 Super Tucano was built specifically for counterinsurgency missions and is currently used by five air forces and on order by others. It has proven extremely capable for LAS missions and is credited with helping the Colombian government defeat the FARC and other governments counter illegal activities. The 150+ units now in operation around the world have logged over 130,000 flight hours, including more than 18,000 combat hours without any combat loss.
The LAS aircraft is a single-engine turboprop fixed-wing aircraft with tricycle, retractable landing gear, and tandem two-place pressurized cockpit with ejection seats, capable of operating from semi-prepared air fields.
Ground training devices support pilot training. Interim contractor support is required for all maintenance and supply requirements for the aircraft and associated support equipment, consisting of the following:
- 20 LAS aircraft;
- one lot interim contractor support long lead in the continental United States;
- one lot interim contractor support base activation outside the continental United States;
- six mission planning stations;
- six mission debrief systems;
- one computer based trainer ground training device;
- one flight training device ground training device;
- one lot LAS flight certification to United States Air Force Military Training Center standards.
Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) is one of America’s fastest growing private companies based on its significant growth and reputation for rapid, innovative, and agile technology solutions in electronics, aerospace, avionics, space, propulsion, micro-satellite, aircraft, communications systems, and solar energy. Under current leadership since 1981, SNC’s seven unique business areas employ over 2,100 people in 29 different locations in 15 states, all of whom are dedicated to providing leading-edge solutions to SNC’s dynamic customer base. SNC is the Top Woman-Owned Federal Contractor in the United States.