Air Force awards contract to build light support aircraft in Jacksonville

$427M contract to build 20 Super Tucano planes will create 50 high-wage jobs

Published On: Mar 11 2013 11:28:01 AM EDT   Updated On: Feb 28 2013 11:21:53 AM EST
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

A Brazilian company and it's American partner will build and test 20 Super Tucano turboprop light support turboprop planes at Jacksonville International Airport, bringing at least 50 high-skilled jobs to Jacksonville.

The $427 million contract was awarded Wednesday by the U.S. Air Force to Embraer Defense and Security and the Sierra Nevada Corporation after a rebidding process that picked the A-29 Super Tucano as the best choice to provide air combat capability for Afghanistan and other missions.

“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 Rep. Ander Crenshaw, R-Jacksonville. “More importantly, this contract underscores the deep confidence by our military that Jacksonville continues to be a military aviation center of excellence.”

More than 100 U.S. companies in more than 20 states provide parts or services for the Super Tucano. In all, the new contract will support more than 1,400 American jobs, reflecting both the large U.S. supplier base and new jobs that will be created by Sierra Nevada and Embraer.

“Amid all the concern over federal budget cuts, this is some good news for Jacksonville,” said U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Florida.

With the support of the state of Florida and the Jacksonville Airport Authority, the facility at Jacksonville International Airport is already undergoing modifications necessary to accommodate the aircraft assembly line, ensuring that production can begin on-schedule.

The initial 20 aircraft will be built, tested and delivered by Feb. 26, 2019. First delivery expected by April 2015, and two per month are expected to be completed at the Jacksonville facility.

The contract can be expanded to $950 million if additional aircraft are ordered.

The A-29 Super Tucano is described as a versatile and powerful turboprop aircraft capable of carrying out a wide range of missions, including close air support and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. The 170 of the aircraft are already being used by nine air forces around the world for more than eight years.

With more than 180,000 flight hours logged, the A-29 has flown 28,000 combat hours with no combat losses.