Sparks, Nev., June 13, 2013 – – The General Accountability Office (GAO) today denied Beechcraft Corporation’s protest of the U.S. Air Force contract award to Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) and partner Embraer Defense & Security for the Air Force’s Light Air Support (LAS) program.
The LAS program is an integral part of the U.S. government’s overall Building Partnership Capacity efforts around the world and immediately supports the development of an indigenous air force in Afghanistan. The program is a vital element of the U.S. Afghan strategy and essential to the United States’ timely and successful withdrawal from the region.
Under the contract awarded Feb. 27, 2013, SNC is supplying 20 Embraer A-29 Super Tucano aircraft that will be built in Jacksonville, Fla., as well as ground-based training equipment, pilot and maintenance training, and logistical support. Delivery of the initial aircraft is scheduled to occur in mid-2014, which allows time for the necessary training before the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.
“Today’s decision is a win for the American warfighters and our allies in Afghanistan who urgently need this light air support capacity to fulfill our mission there,” said Taco Gilbert, vice president of Integrated Tactical Solutions for SNC’s Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance business area. “It is also a victory for the American workers who are producing this aircraft. SNC, Embraer and our partners across the United States hit the ground running February 27th, and we will deliver the most operationally capable aircraft on time and at the greatest value to the American public.”
More than 100 U.S. companies in over 20 states, including Elbit Systems, Honeywell International, FLIR Systems, Inc., GE Aviation, L-3 Communications, BAE Systems, Hartzell, PPG Aerospace, Rockwell Collins and Lord Corporation, are part of the supply chain already working to build the A-29 Super Tucano. In all, the contract supports more than 1,400 jobs across the United States. “Moreover, this American production operation will continue to produce the A-29 aircraft for other nations as part of the Building Partnership Capacity efforts of the United States, supporting the continued employment of highly talented American workers”, said Gilbert.