Brazilian Firm Embraer to Participate in New U.S. Air Force Bid

By Dialogo
May 10, 2012

Brazilian airplane manufacturer Embraer announced on May 8 that it will participate in the U.S. Air Force’s new bid for the purchase of light attack aircraft.

“We’re going into the competition with a bit more concern, because we already had the contract signed, but with the new conditions, which give significant weight to the planes’ past combat experience, we believe that we’re going to win again,” Luiz Carlos Aguiar, the president of Embraer Defense and Security, said to the daily Folha de São Paulo.

The U.S. Air Force issued the new request for bids on April 13, following the February cancellation of a contract for 20 Super Tucano planes, worth 355 million dollars, that had been awarded to Embraer and its partner, U.S.-based Sierra Nevada Corporation, in December.

The decision was made after rival U.S. vendor Hawker Beechcraft Corporation of Wichita, Kansas, filed suit in a U.S. federal court to block the contract with Embraer-Sierra Nevada, alleging that its Beechcraft AT-6 plane was excluded from the request for bids.

The aircraft will equip the new Afghan Air Force.

If the selection process is “just, competitive, and transparent,” the Super Tucano should be chosen again, Aguiar insisted to Folha.

The situation also threatened the interests of U.S. firm Boeing, which is seeking a contract worth $5 billion for the sale of 36 fighter planes to Brazil. Nevertheless, the Pentagon said that it is confident that the situation with Embraer will not influence the Brazilian government’s decision.

The AT-29 Super Tucano is a plane designed for light attack missions, counterinsurgency, close air support, and aerial reconnaissance missions in low-threat environments, as well as for advanced pilot training.