Beechcraft claimed a communications first for the AT-6, its losing contender for the USAF Light Air Support (LAS) program. Meanwhile, Embraer described progress in producing the winning LAS contender, the A-29 Super Tucano.
Embraer EMB 312 Tucano
Beechcraft said that it accomplished the first flight of a production AT-6 light attack aircraft in Wichita on Tuesday. The first flight of an AT-6 production representative test vehicle occurred in September 2009.
At the Latin American Aerospace and Defense (LAAD) Show, Embraer announced a new customer for the EMB-314 Super Tucano. The Senegalese Air Force signed a contract for three aircraft and in-country training of pilots and mechanics by Embraer. Senegal will use the aircraft for border surveillance and internal security. The deal takes the number of the type ordered to 210.
After delays of nearly a year, the U.S. Air Force announced yesterday that it selected Sierra Nevada Corp. and its partner, Embraer Defense and Security, for its light air support program (LAS). After a lengthy rebidding process, the Air Force in essence confirmed its original choice of the A-29 Super Tucano, built by Brazilian airplane manufacturer Embraer.
For a journalist, the best part of attending the annual EAA AirVenture extravaganza in Oshkosh, Wis., is that often serendipity reigns, and the result is an entirely unexpected bonus, in this case the opportunity to fly Embraer’s EMB-314 Super Tucano light attack turboprop.
The U.S. Air Force has apparently chosen the Embraer Super Tucano to meet the Light Air Support (LAS) requirement.
Demonstrating its technological range and capabilities, UK-based Cobham (Booth No. C10124) is highlighting recent platform wins by its Commercial Systems business unit. The company will provide an integrated avionics suite for the new Skylander SK-105 utility aircraft, and it has been tapped by Embraer (Booth No. N5132) to provide an advanced flight display system for 14 EMB-312 Tucano trainers being upgraded for the Columbian air force.
Embraer has sold eight Super Tucano turboprops to the Indonesian air force. The aircraft will replace aging OV-10 Broncos in the light attack role, although Embraer notes that the Super Tucano can also perform surveillance and air-to-air interception. The value of the deal, which also includes ground support and an integrated logistics package, was not revealed. Deliveries will begin in 2012.
Embraer expects its revenues from the defense sector to grow by almost a third this year, reaching approximately $650 million compared with $500 million in 2009. Its military backlog going into 2010 stood at $3.2 billion and could increase if Indonesia’s defense minister signs off on a deal for eight EMB 314 Super Tucano trainer/light attack aircraft.
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