Jacksonville International Airport raises unofficial curtain on military aircraft factory
Posted: March 26, 2013 - 3:27pm
By Drew Dixon
With legal fights lingering and budget battles waging in the nation’s capital, Jacksonville International Airport entered the military aircraft manufacturing business on Tuesday.
Gov. Rick Scott was on hand at the site where Sierra Nevada Corp. and its Brazilian subcontractor, Embraer Aircraft Holding, will assemble at least 20 of the single-engine A-29 Super Tucano light air support planes. The aircraft eventually will be shipped to Afghanistan to help fight enemies of the government there.
Although the official opening was Tuesday, the 41,000-sqaure-foot facility at JIA and its 50 employees won’t actually be building the aircraft until near the end of this year.
Read more at Jacksonville.com.
Embraer, State and Local Officials Gather for Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony for Super Tucano Assembly Facility
Jacksonville, Florida, March 26, 2013 – Embraer President and CEO Frederico Curado, joined by Florida Governor Rick Scott, Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown and Representatives Corrine Brown and Ander Crenshaw, today marked the opening of the facility where the company will assemble the aircraft for the U.S. Air Force’s Light Air Support (LAS) program. More than 200 local business people, public officials and news media attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony at the 40,000-square-foot hangar at Jacksonville International Airport.
Through the LAS program, Embraer and its prime contractor Sierra Nevada Corporation will support more than 1,400 jobs with over 100 companies throughout the United States.
“Today, we mark another achievement in Embraer’s growing presence in the United States and the State of Florida, not only with our expansion in Jacksonville, but also with our first participation in a contract to supply high tech equipment and services to the USAF. We are honored by this opportunity and ready to get to work,” said Frederico Curado, Embraer S.A. President and CEO.
Embraer, with its U.S. headquarters in Ft. Lauderdale, currently employs more than 1,200 people in the United States. The Jacksonville site joins recent expansion of the company’s operations in Melbourne, Florida where, in 2011, it opened a production facility and Global Customer Center for its Phenom 100 and Phenom 300 executive jets. In 2012, the company broke ground in Melbourne for a new Engineering and Technology Center that will employ 200 engineers.
“With this manufacturing facility, Embraer will create 50 new jobs for Jacksonville families, which is great news. Thanks to our business friendly strategy of keeping taxes low, making targeted investments and supporting education, these 50 new jobs will build on the more than 280,000 private sector jobs that have been created in the last two years,” said Florida Governor Rick Scott.
“Jacksonville’s exceptionally talented workforce will be assembling the world’s most capable light air support aircraft with parts from suppliers across the United States. In terms of a ‘win-win’ it doesn’t get better than this,” said Congressman Ander Crenshaw (R-FL), who represents Florida’s 4th congressional district.
“At a time when many companies are outsourcing, Embraer is insourcing and creating high-quality jobs right here in Northeast Florida; I commend them for this action,” said Congresswoman Corrine Brown (D-FL), who represents Florida’s 5th congressional district.
With the support of the State of Florida, the City of Jacksonville and the Jacksonville Airport Authority, efforts already have begun to prepare the facility for industrial operations.
“Embraer’s success in Jacksonville speaks volumes about the direction of our economy and our city’s role as one of America’s most military-friendly cities,” said Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown. “This project promotes economic security at home and global security for all. I’m proud of the teamwork that helped to make it happen and I look forward to working with Embraer for many years to come.”
“I know many of the leaders at Embraer, and they have created an outstanding global aviation company in both the commercial and military business sectors,” said JAX Chamber interim president and CEO and JAXUSA Partnership president Jerry Mallot. “I am excited to be here today to celebrate the opening of an Embraer facility in Jacksonville and the creation of new jobs for our region.”
On Febuary 27, the U.S. Air Force awarded the LAS contract to Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) to supply 20 Embraer A-29 Super Tucano aircraft, as well as ground-based training devices, pilot and maintenance training, and logistical support. The initial 20 aircraft will be used to provide light air support, reconnaissance and training capabilities to the Afghanistan military. The facility in Jacksonville will perform pre-equipping, mechanical assembly, structural assembly, systems installation and testing, and flight testing of A-29 aircraft.
Delivery of the first American-made A-29 Super Tucano aircraft is scheduled to take place next summer.
Embraer Signs Jacksonville Airport Lease for A-29 Super Tucano Assembly Facility
Jacksonville, Florida, March 15, 2013 – Embraer Aircraft Holding, Inc. announced today it has signed a 10-year lease on a 40,000-square-foot hangar in which the A-29 Super Tucano aircraft for the U.S. Air Force Light Air Support (LAS) program will be assembled. Preparation of the facility is currently underway. The LAS aircraft are urgently needed to support the successful withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan.
Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown welcomed Embraer to the city. “I'm excited for this economic milestone as Embraer's A-29 production facility becomes Jacksonville's first full-scale aircraft assembly operation,” said Mayor Brown. “Not only does this show confidence in our workforce, it expands Jacksonville's role as one of America's most military and veteran-friendly cities. I commend Embraer for embracing these values and I look forward to a long, productive relationship.”
“We have been looking forward to the day that we can officially establish our presence in Jacksonville and we are ready to get to work,” said Gary Spulak, President of Embraer Aircraft Holding, Inc. “This important step is the first of many that will solidify the new partnership we have created between Embraer and the Jacksonville community.”
With the support of the state of Florida, the City of Jacksonville and the Jacksonville Aviation Authority, the facility at the Jacksonville International Airport already is undergoing modifications. The facility will perform pre-equipping, mechanical assembly, structural assembly, systems installation and testing, and flight testing of A-29 aircraft.
“A great team came together to make a solid case for building this plane in Northeast Florida, resulting in a 'win - win' for the First Coast economy and our national defense,” said Congressman Ander Crenshaw (R-FL), who represents Florida’s 4th congressional district. “The addition of this facility underscores Jacksonville as a military aviation center of excellence.”
“We are proud to host production of this important aircraft,” said Steve Grossman, executive director of the Jacksonville Aviation Authority. “This brings economic investment and good jobs to the area.”
“This is a wonderful example of insourcing and exactly what our region and our nation need more of. This facility will create high-wage jobs and represents millions in economic investment. Production of the aircraft will draw upon U.S. suppliers from across the country, supporting many more American jobs,” said Congresswoman Corrine Brown (D-FL), who represents Florida’s 5th congressional district.
Embraer has had its U.S. headquarters in Ft. Lauderdale for more than 30 years and currently employs more than 1,200 people in the United States. The Jacksonville site joins recent expansion of the company’s operations in Florida. In 2011, Embraer opened a production facility for its Phenom 100 and Phenom 300 jets and a Global Customer Center in Melbourne, and in 2012, the company broke ground on a new Engineering and Technology Center, also in Melbourne, that will employ 200 engineers. Some 1,400 additional jobs will be supported through the LAS contract.
As the aircraft selected for the LAS program, the A-29 Super Tucano will be used to provide light air support, reconnaissance and training capabilities to the Afghanistan military. As such, it is a vital element of the United States’ Afghan withdrawal strategy and central to maintaining security in that region going forward. The LAS program also will provide the United States and other partner nations with important capabilities for agile, flexible, economical, new-generation multi-role airpower.
Joint Statement of Sierra Nevada Corporation and Embraer Defense and Security on Decision of Beechcraft Corporation to Protest LAS Contract Award
[PDF] March 8, 2013 -- The United States Air Force for a second time has selected the A-29 for the Light Air Support (LAS) mission. In announcing the award, the Air Force stated “this award is the result of a full and open competition” and Lt. Gen. C.R. Davis, military deputy for acquisition in Air Force headquarters said, "I am confident that the source selection process was disciplined and meticulous." Even Beechcraft’s CEO commented on the care and professionalism of the USAF’s selection process. In fact, this was a completely new evaluation process, conducted by a new team and overseen by a three-star general.
In evaluating the competitors, the U.S. Air Force looked at three criteria, in priority order: mission capability, past performance and pricing in order to determine overall best value.
The A-29 received an exceptional rating on technical capability and low-risk in all other categories. Only the A-29 Super Tucano is operational and performing light air support missions today. Its capabilities and long track record are fully known and demonstrated. The past performances of SNC and Embraer are equally strong and proven. Based on these factors we are confident the Air Force selected the A-29 as the lowest risk solution for the U.S. and its partner nations and overall best value.
In accordance with the RFP, the U.S. Air Force selected the A-29 based on three factors stated above, not just a single factor. The Air Force determined that the price they are paying for the superior A-29 aircraft was part of the “overall best value.” We look forward to another rapid Government Accounting Office decision on Beechcraft’s protest.
An important aspect about our approach is the "in-sourcing" of jobs to Jacksonville, Florida. We feel it establishes an exciting future model of bringing high tech aerospace manufacturing jobs back to the United States to stem the recent tide of moving jobs offshore. The A-29 aircraft for the LAS program will be built in Jacksonville, Fla. The SNC award will support more than 1,400 American jobs, reflecting both the large U.S. supplier base – more than 100 companies will supply parts and services for the A-29 Super Tucano – and new jobs that will be created by SNC and Embraer. Embraer will create new high-tech jobs at its production facility in Jacksonville, adding to the 1,200 people Embraer currently employs in the United States, and new jobs at SNC will add to its U.S. workforce of 2,500 people.
The A-29 Super Tucano is the right choice for the mission, the warfighter, the U.S. taxpayer, the American workers and our partner nations. Given the strength of our proposal and the thoroughness of the U.S. Air Force’s evaluation process, it is unfortunate that Beechcraft is now protesting the Light Air Support (LAS) contract award once again.
The need for this aircraft was critical a year ago and more so today. SNC and Embraer are moving forward and preparing to begin operations in Jacksonville.
Delayed landing: Embraer persistence pays off for Jacksonville
by Carole Hawkins
Jacksonville Business Journal
JACKSONVILLE — Brazilian plane maker Embraer stuck with plans to assemble military aircraft at Jacksonville International Airport for more than a year. In doing so, the company outlasted one lawsuit between a competitor and the government, two U.S. Department of Defense application processes and three expired options to lease a JIA hangar.
The Department of Defense on Feb. 27 awarded, for a second time, a $427 million contract to Embraer and Sierra Nevada Corp. of Sparks, Nev., its general contractor, to supply 20 Super Tucano light air support planes. The aircraft will help the U.S. to withdraw from Afghanistan by providing the Afghan army with the weapons and technology it needs to fight Taliban insurgents.
Who is Embraer and why was the company so determined to build planes in Jacksonville? According to one company executive, local business advantages drove its decision-making.
Embraer is the world’s third largest commercial aircraft manufacturer, according to the company’s website. The multinational firm produces three product lines: commercial aircraft up to 120 seats, private executive jets, and defense and security aircraft. Commercial airlines American Airlines and US Airways are among its customers. Anyone who has flown regularly on corporate jets six seats and larger has likely been on a plane built by Embraer.
The company wants to grow its defense and security division — projected at 19 percent of revenue this year, up from 13 percent last year. The Super Tucano award gives the company its first toehold in the prestigious U.S. defense industry.
Embraer has operated in the U.S. for 30 years of its 40-year history, and employs more than 1,200 in this country. Its U.S. headquarters is in Fort Lauderdale and Embraer has recently expanded in Florida.
In 2011 the company moved the headquarters of its executive jets division to Florida from Brazil and opened its first U.S. aircraft assembly facility and a global customer center for executive jets in Melbourne. The company plans to open an engineering and technology center in Melbourne as well.
Bob Stangarone, Embraer vice president of corporate communications for North America, said a U.S. presence has long been important to the company.
“Half the market for executive jets is in North America,” he said. “It brings our business closer to our customers and gives us a cleaner supply-chain.”
The company in 1979 picked Fort Lauderdale as its U.S. base because of Florida’s business-friendly environment and because it was easy to attract employees to the state’s beaches, sunny weather and high quality of life, Stangarone said.
NASA layoffs created another opportunity. Embraer responded by opening operations in Melbourne.
“We’ve hired quite a few people who were laid off,” Stangarone said. “The skill set needed to build aircraft is similar to that needed for aerospace.”
Labor considerations similarly brought Embraer to Jacksonville.
“The city has a great labor pool, not only for its aviation and tech workers, but also for its defense talent,” Stangarone said.
Also important, Embraer wanted a location near a port, so major assembly components such as tail sections and wings could be brought in.
Though Jacksonville has long been known as a place for aircraft maintenance and refurbishment, Embraer’s will be the first new aircraft assembly plant in Jacksonville, according to Michael Stewart, director of external affairs for the Jacksonville Aviation Authority.
That sends a message to other companies that Jacksonville might be a good place to build planes, JAA CEO and Executive Director Steve Grossman said. It was an advantage the city could offer to lease Embraer a hangar formerly used by Piedmont.
“The Air Force needed the planes delivered on a relatively short time schedule,” Grossman said. “Embraer didn’t have time to build a building.”
Embraer’s initial contract for 20 planes will create at least 50 jobs, Stangarone said. And there’s the possibility of future orders up to a maximum contract value of $950 million.
Grossman said just getting Embraer through the door has been a big win for the city.
“If you watch Embraer, wherever they go, they grow,” Grossman said. “And we hope their numbers here will grow. We hope they bring different business lines to Jacksonville.”
U.S. AIR FORCE SELECTS A-29 SUPER TUCANO
FOR LIGHT AIR SUPPORT MISSION
SPARKS, Nev., Feb. 27, 2013 – Eren Ozmen, president of Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) announced today that the U.S. Air Force (USAF) has selected SNC and its partner Embraer Defense and Security for its Light Air Support (LAS) program. After a thorough rebidding process, the USAF again deemed the A-29 Super Tucano aircraft, and the overall solution offered by SNC, to be the superior choice for this critical mission. The initial $427.5 million delivery order is to supply the USAF with 20 A-29 Super Tucano aircraft.As the aircraft selected for the LAS program, the A-29 Super Tucano will be used to provide light air support, reconnaissance and training capabilities to the Afghanistan military. As such, it is a vital element of the United States’ Afghan withdrawal strategy and central to maintaining security in that region going forward. The LAS program also will provide the United States and other partner nations with important capabilities for agile, flexible, economical, new-generation multi-role airpower.“The Light Air Support program is essential to the United States’ objectives in Afghanistan and to our national security. It is a great honor to serve our country by providing the aircraft, training and support for this program,” said Taco Gilbert, vice president of Integrated Tactical Solutions for SNC’s Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance business area. “The A-29 Super Tucano with its proven track record is exactly what’s needed for the LAS program where the mission is critical and time is short. We will deliver a superior product, on-time and on-budget.”“We are glad to provide the U.S. government with the best aircraft for the LAS program and to aid American warfighters and partners with a cost-effective solution,” said Gary Spulak, president of Embraer Aircraft Holding, Inc. “Through this contract with SNC, we will increase our investment in the United States by creating new jobs and supporting American businesses.”“Congratulations to the Sierra Nevada Corporation and its partner Embraer Defense and Security for being selected by the U.S. Air Force for its Light Air Support program. The program will be built in Jacksonville and bring valuable jobs to Northeast Florida families,” Florida Governor Rick Scott.
U.S. Department of Defense
February 27, 2013
Sierra Nevada Corp., Sparks, Nev., has been awarded a firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract (FA8637 13 D 6003) to provide both an advanced aircrew trainer and a light air support aircraft to establish air combat capability for allied countries under the Building Partnership Capacity program. Delivery Order 0001 was awarded for $427,459,708 for 20 Light Air Support Aircraft, one computer based trainer, one basic aviation training device, one flight training device, six mission planning stations, six mission debrief systems, long lead spares for interim contractor support, outside the continental United States base activation, site surveys, flight certification to U.S. Air Force military type certification standards, and data. The location of performance for Delivery Order 0001 effort is Sparks, Nev., and Jacksonville, Fla. The maximum amount that can be ordered under this contract is $950,000,000. The contract period of performance goes through Feb. 26, 2019 and Delivery Order 0001 work is expected to be complete by April 2015. This award is the result of a full and open competition, and two offers were received. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio is the contracting activity. Read More.