Super Tucano aircraft

A team comprising of Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) and Embraer has submitted its final response to the US Air Force’s (USAF) request for proposal (RFP) for the controversial $355m Light Air Support (LAS) contract.

The team is offering the AT-29 Super Tucano aircraft as part of the contract, which aims to provide a low-cost, non-developmental solution for the Afghanistan Air Force (AAF) to help meet its requirements in a counterinsurgency environment.

SNC ISR business development vice-president, Taco Gilbert, said the company is offering the most capable LAS aircraft to address the needs of the US and its allies in Afghanistan.

”Our goal is to get the LAS capability into the hands of those who need it in the most expeditious, fair and transparent manner,” Gilbert said.

”While nearly a year-and-a-half has passed since the original RFP was issued, the A-29 Super Tucano remains the only aircraft in the running that is combat-proven and capable of meeting the needs of commanders in-theatre today.”

SNC is also pursuing a lawsuit against USAF in the US Court of Federal Claims seeking reinstatement of the contract, which was originally awarded to the team in December 2011, and subsequently cancelled in February 2012, following concerns over the procurement process.

The team beat Hawker Beechcraft to win the contract, which included delivery of 20 AT-29 Super Tucano aircraft along with ground training devices (GTD) and support services to the AAF by the end of April 2014.

Powered by a PT6A-68A turboprop engine, the Embraer AT-29 Super Tucano is designed to conduct light attack, counterinsurgency, close air support, aerial reconnaissance missions in low threat environments, as well as to provide pilot training.

Image: A Brazilian Air Force’s AT-29 Super Tucano aircraft stationed at Natal Air Force Base in Brazil. Photo: courtesy of FORÇA AÉREA.