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03/26/2013 - Embraer, State and Local Officials Gather for Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony for Super Tucano Assembly Facility

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.

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03/15/2013 - Embraer Signs Jacksonville Airport Lease for A-29 Super Tucano Assembly Facility

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.

Embraer Signs Jacksonville Airport Lease for A-29 Super Tucano Assembly Facility  Pictured:  (L) Gary Spulak, President, Embraer Aircraft Holding, Inc. and (R) Steve Grossman, Executive Director, Jacksonville Aviation AuthorityJacksonville 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. 

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10/22/2012 - Embraer Defense and Security Delivers the First A-29 Super Tucanos to Mauritania

EMBRAER DEFENSE AND SECURITY DELIVERS THE FIRST A-29 SUPER TUCANOS TO MAURITANIA

São Paulo, Brazil, October, 22, 2012 – Embraer Defense and Security delivered on Friday the first light attack and advanced training A-29 Super Tucano turboprops to the Air Force of Mauritania, at a ceremony held in its facility in Gavião Peixoto, São Paulo, Brazil. The aircraft will be used for border surveillance missions.

“The Super Tucano has combat proven experience, is versatile and extremely efficient, and offers low operation costs,” said Luiz Carlos Aguiar, president of Embraer Defense and Security. “With this delivery, we are broadening our ties with the African continent, where this aircraft has generated great interest.”

Ten clients throughout the world have already chosen the A-29 Super Tucano. The model, which is being used by seven air forces in Latin America, Africa and Asia, has now surpassed 170,000 flight hours and 26,000 combat hours. The Super Tucano is capable of carrying out a wide range of missions, including light attack, surveillance, air-to-air interception, and counterinsurgency. The aircraft is equipped with advanced electronic, electro-optic, infrared, and laser system technologies, as well as secure radio systems with data links and unrivalled weapon capacity, which makes it highly reliable and allows for an excellent cost-benefit ratio for a wide range of military missions, even operating from unpaved runways and in hostile environments.

The A-29 Super Tucano handles more than 130 weapon configurations, including 70mm rocket launchers, air-to-air missiles and laser-guided bombs, totally integrated into the aircraft’s mission system, with a laser designator. These state-of-the-art smart weapons are employed in real operational missions carried out by the Super Tucano for more than five years. The A-29 Super Tucano is the result of a project developed according to the rigorous specifications of the Brazilian Air Force. With more than 160 aircraft already delivered, it is totally compatible with combat operations in complex scenarios, in which data exchange and information processing capabilities are demanded. In addition to a reinforced airframe for operating on unpaved runways, the airplane has advanced navigation and weapon aiming systems, which assure high precision and reliability, using both conventional and smart weapons, even under extreme conditions. The airplane requires minimal logistical support for continued operations.

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08/06/2012 - Embraer Delivers the First Four A-29 Super Tucanos to Indonesian Air Force

Embraer Delivers the First Four A-29 Super Tucanos to Indonesian Air Force

São Paulo, August 6, 2012 – Embraer Defense and Security has today delivered four light attack and tactical training A-29 Super Tucano aircraft to Indonesia’s Air Force at a ceremony held in its facility in Gavião Peixoto, São Paulo, Brazil. Indonesia is the first operator of Super Tucano in the Asia-Pacific region. These four A-29 Super Tucano are from the initial batch of eight aircraft purchased by the Indonesian Air Force (IAF) in 2010. The IAF has since ordered a second batch of eight Super Tucanos as part of their equipment modernization exercise, bringing the total number of orders to 16 aircraft.

“We are honored that the Indonesian Air force has selected the A-29 Super Tucano as the preferred choice in their fleet modernization program”, said Luiz Carlos Aguiar, President of Embraer Defense and Security.

“The Super Tucano is a mature, proven and mission-ready aircraft with more than 160 units in operation globally.” The Super Tucano was chosen by the Indonesian Defense Forces to replace a fleet of OV-10 Broncos as part of their equipment modernization exercise for years 2009 – 2014.

With more than 157,000 flight hours and over 23,000 combat hours achieved, the Super Tucano offers the flexibility to perform a broad range of missions including light attack, surveillance, air-to-air interception and counter insurgence.

The aircraft makes excellent use of the most recent electronic, optical, infra-red and laser technologies, as well as secure radio communications with data-link, and an unparalleled weaponry capability, making it highly reliable and at a top-level cost/benefit ratio for a wide range of military missions, even operating from unpaved runways. 

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07/23/2012 - A-29 Super Tucano Makes U.S. Debut at Oshkosh Air Show

A-29 Super Tucano Makes U.S. Debut at Oshkosh Air Show

SPARKS, NV, July 23, 2012 – When retired fighter pilot and Air Force Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR), Lt. Gen. David Deptula was offered the opportunity to take the A-29 Super Tucano for a test-flight, he jumped at the chance.  The aircraft is a contender, offered by Sierra Nevada Corporation in partnership with Embraer, in the U.S. Air Force (USAF) Light Air Support (LAS) competition.  The plane is on display this week at the Oshkosh air show.

The A-29 Super Tucano has gained prominence in the international defense market in recent years due to its capabilities and track record in difficult environments, as well as its low cost of operation and ownership.  In the Latin American countries that were the first to adopt this aircraft (Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic and Ecuador), political leaders credit it with toppling illegal organizations and controlling a variety of other threats.  Since the beginning of 2012, Burkina Faso, Angola and Mauritania each have signed contracts to purchase Super Tucano aircraft and Indonesia placed an order for another batch of eight aircraft and a flight simulator, having already purchased eight Super Tucanos.  Embraer, the plane’s manufacturer, recently announced an agreement with Boeing to provide weapons integration for the A-29 Super Tucano, further enhancing its capabilities.

The aircraft selected by the USAF for its Light Air Support program initially will be used to provide light attack, armed reconnaissance and training capabilities to the Afghanistan military.  It will also provide the U.S. and other partner nations with critical capabilities for agile, flexible, economical, new generation multi-role airpower.  

“Given that now, more than ever, the United States and its allies need to find cost-effective, innovative ways to successfully defeat a variety of non-traditional threats, I wanted to see for myself whether the Super Tucano deserves the superb reputation it already possesses,” General Deptula said.  

Deptula served in the U.S. Air Force for more than 34 years.  Among his many accomplishments, he served as Director of the Combined Air Operations Center for Operation Enduring Freedom in 2001, where he orchestrated air operations over Afghanistan resulting in removal of the Taliban regime and eliminating the al-Qaeda terrorist training camps. He also was the principal attack planner for the Desert Storm coalition air campaign in 1991.  Deptula was the first Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance, Headquarters Air Force, where he was responsible for policy formulation, planning, and leadership of AF ISR and remotely piloted aircraft. He has piloted more than 3,000 flying hours (400 in combat) that include multiple operational fighter command assignments in the F-15. As a civilian, Deptula is focused on helping the defense industry provide better, cheaper and faster solutions to global security problems.

The A-29 Super Tucano is a relatively small, sleek, and powerful turboprop aircraft designed for multiple combat and ISR roles.  Its airpower agility and value proposition is a result of years of advances in technology, design innovation, and demonstrated capability.

According to Deptula, there is no question that the A-29 Super Tucano was designed for maximum effectiveness in austere operations.  “One of the things you notice immediately is the very wide track and high ground clearance of the Super T.  Wide, sturdy gear, and low pressure tires mean superior ‘off road’ and crosswind performance.”  He also noted that the plane is intended to make the most of its 1600 SHP Pratt & Whitney PT6 engine.  “The long fuselage and large vertical stabilizer are well designed to compensate for the torque of the powerful motor – and add ready growth space for future missions.” The engine also overcomes the challenge of high, hot environments, and enables a sustained airspeed throughout high-G maneuvers.  

Deptula also noted that the structure, frame, engine mounts, canopy, and the nine stores stations that support over 130 certified configurations (including a Bright Star II sensor by FLIR Corp.) are “purposely over-engineered”.  The wings and fuselage are blended for both strength and improved aerodynamics.  Twin .50 cal machine guns are integrated into the wings saving weight and drag while improving accuracy. This, in-turn, improves station-time and adds critical persistence when operating in conjunction with ground forces.  

The On Board Oxygen Generation System (OBOGS), “0-0” Martin Baker ejection seats, cockpit armor, and “wonderful visibility” from both cockpit seats, provide great confidence and comfort for those who fly the A-29, according to Deptula.  

“The A-29 flies like a ‘fighter’ should.  It’s responsive, yet forgiving; rugged, yet advanced. If it weren’t for the prop out front, I would have thought I was flying a jet,” Deptula said.

The mission planning and debrief system, Honeywell and Collins avionics, configurable multi-function displays and HOTAS (hands-on-throttle-and-stick) are modeled after the USAF’s modern fighters.  According to Deptula, this design minimizes transition and training time and makes weapons employment intuitive and user-friendly.  “These are important characteristics of an aircraft with which you are trying to get people up to speed fast,” he said.  

“I could have flown an actual mission after my short demo.  Here’s the landing checklist:  Gear down. Flaps down.  It doesn’t get much simpler than that.”

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06/19/2012 - SNC Submits Response to Air Force RFP for Light Air Support Program

SNC SUBMITS RESPONSE TO AIR FORCE RFP FOR LIGHT AIR SUPPORT PROGRAM

SPARKS, NV, JUNE 19, 2012 -- Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) announced today that it has submitted the final components of its response to the United States Air Force’s request for proposal (RFP) for its Light Air Support (LAS) Program.  SNC is partnering with Embraer to provide the A-29 Super Tucano counterinsurgency aircraft to meet the LAS mission requirements.  The two companies teamed together and previously won the competition only to have the contract set aside following a lawsuit by the disqualified competitor.  The A-29 Super Tucano is the only aircraft in the competition that is currently in use with military around the globe and performing counterinsurgency and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) operations.  

 SNC is participating in the new LAS source selection process while it also pursues court action to reinstate the contract awarded to it last December.

“Our goal one way or the other is to get the LAS capability into the hands of those who need it in the most expeditious, fair and transparent manner,” said Taco Gilbert, Vice President of ISR Business Development at SNC.  “We have the most capable LAS aircraft and our overall solution meets the needs of our warfighters and allies on the ground in Afghanistan today, while also providing significant value to the American taxpayer.” 

A Proven Performance Record

The LAS mission requires a ready-to-go, non-developmental aircraft designed to operate in a counterinsurgency environment and extremely austere conditions at a significantly lower cost than a fighter jet.  Yet, it must be able to deliver a wide variety of munitions and provide most of the technological and communications capabilities of a modern fighter.  

The A-29 Super Tucano was purpose-built for counterinsurgency and light air support missions.  It is currently in use or on order with nine militaries on three continents to provide security, light air support, advanced training, and armed ISR operations.  It has a rugged platform and high, broad stance that provides stability on rugged terrain and enables take-off and landing on unprepared runways. 

“The need for the LAS capability in Afghanistan hasn’t changed, it’s only become more urgent,” said Gilbert.  “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.”  

While the original RFP contained a flight demonstration, the amended version contains no such requirement. This makes the proven performance of the A-29 Super Tucano all the more valuable.  With more than eight years in service and more than 160 aircraft delivered, much is known about the performance, operational effectiveness and costs to operate and maintain the A-29 Super Tucano.  The A-29 Super Tucano fleet has achieved an average of over 84 percent availability and 99 percent mission effectiveness.  

Supporting the U.S. Economy 

The A-29 Super Tucano aircraft to be provided under the LAS contract will be built in the U.S. in Jacksonville, Florida, by American workers with parts and services from some 70 US companies.  

Approximately 86 percent of each aircraft’s dollar value will come from components supplied by U.S. companies or countries that qualify under the Buy American Act.  In all, more than 1,200 American jobs will be supported through the contract, including the creation of new aerospace jobs in Jacksonville.  

Embraer will invest approximately $3 million in bringing the U.S. production facility on line.  The facility, its first defense-related operation in the U.S., will complement its growing U.S. operations.  

“Embraer’s U.S. roots go back more than 30 years to 1979 when we established our first U.S. company in Ft. Lauderdale.  Since that time, we have invested $115 million in facilities and infrastructure here,” said Gary Spulak, President of Embraer Aircraft Holding.  “While other companies are moving industrial and research and development operations out of the U.S., we see tremendous opportunity and a highly talented aerospace workforce here.”  

Last year, Embraer opened its first U.S. aircraft assembly facility and a new Global Customer Center for Executive Jets in Melbourne, Florida, employing 200 people.  In March, the company announced establishment of the Embraer Engineering and Technology Center USA – also in Melbourne.  This research and development center will employ 200 aerospace engineers.  

“We are offering the U.S. Air Force the low-risk solution.  Our aircraft is operational today and its performance and costs are well-documented,” said Gilbert.  “SNC and Embraer are strong and growing companies that are investing in the U.S. and creating new jobs here.  Both companies are here to stay.” 

Facts about the A-29 Super Tucano: 

  • A clean sheet design – built from the ground up for the counterinsurgency and light air support mission
  • A production aircraft – more than 160 have been built and delivered
  • Operational today performing ISR and security missions around the globe
  • In use with military in six nations; on order with three others
  • More than 147,000 flight hours logged, including 23,000 combat hours; no combat losses
  • Certified for more than 130 munitions configurations
  • Features open-architecture avionics
  • Provides significant room for growth
  • Proven low operating costs – 84 percent fleet availability; 99 percent fleet mission effectiveness

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06/13/2012 - SNC Files Action to Reinstate Light Air Support Contract

SNC FILES ACTION TO REINSTATE LIGHT AIR SUPPORT CONTRACT

Company Seeks to Maintain Fairness and Transparency of Acquisition Process and Serve the Critical Needs of US Warfighter & Partner Building Nations; Considers USAF Corrective Action as Excessive

SPARKS, NV, JUNE 13, 2012 – In response to the lawsuit filed by Hawker Beechcraft, Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) yesterday filed an action in the United States Court of Federal Claims to seek reinstatement of the U.S. Air Force (USAF) Light Air Support (LAS) contract awarded to the company last December.  SNC partnered with Embraer to provide the A-29 Super Tucano for the LAS mission.  Following a lawsuit by the disqualified competitor, the USAF set aside the contract in March and opened a Commander Directed Investigation (CDI) into the source selection process.  According to SNC the cancellation of the contract was an extreme response to what appears to be paperwork errors on the part of the USAF.  Moreover, the revised Request for Proposal (RFP) issued by the USAF is tilted in favor of the competition.  

“SNC does not have a history of litigation.  We are taking this step only after very serious deliberation and exhausting the other avenues available to us to address our concerns,” said Taco Gilbert, Vice President of ISR Business Development at SNC.  “Despite repeated written and verbal attempts, we have not received adequate explanation – much less justification – for the termination of our contract, the reopening of the LAS competition or the readmission to the LAS competition of our competitor whose submission was previously found to be technically deficient and carry unacceptable mission capability risk.”  

“What we seek is a fair and open competition – one where there is a level playing field, one that provides transparency into the decision making process, and one that selects the best value as required by the Request for Proposal.  Unfortunately, based on the information we have, we are concerned that this competition will not conform to these goals,” said Gilbert.  

SNC’s filing also raises specific concerns with the source selection process and revisions to Amendment 8 of the RFP.  The new source selection process eliminates any flight demonstration/evaluation and moves the completion of First Article Test (FAT) of production aircraft out until delivery in July 2014.   Early FAT is not a concern with the A-29, but is not possible for Hawker Beechcraft’s AT-6B which is not in production.  Under the current plan, the first opportunity the Air Force will have to test the LAS aircraft is not until it has been purchased and produced.  The original source selection process included flight demonstrations of training and combat mission profiles and austere field operations.  The competition sought non-developmental aircraft, which by definition should be available for evaluation.  SNC is very concerned that this is a similar situation to the one recently described by Secretary Frank Kendall, the Pentagon's Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, who said putting an aircraft into production prior to the first test flight is “acquisition malpractice.” 

“It is unfathomable that the Air Force won’t test this aircraft until it is past the point of no return, especially when one of the aircraft in the competition is still developmental,” Gilbert said.  “This has happened only rarely in DoD aircraft acquisitions and it has usually turned out very poorly for both the warfighter and the taxpayer.   The Department of Defense insists on test driving ground equipment before it buys it, but now proposes not to test an airplane before purchase. One can only guess what this could end up costing the taxpayer in the future.” 

As noted in the Government Accountability Office decision, the USAF concluded that the AT-6 had “multiple deficiencies and significant weaknesses” which made it “technically unacceptable and result[ed] in unacceptable mission capability risk.”  Given that there are no changes to the technical requirements in the new RFP and Hawker Beechcraft’s own admission that it cannot meet the LAS requirements, a flight evaluation is the only way to thoroughly and accurately assess technical capability and risk, and eliminate the earlier concerns about SNC’s competitor.

Amendment 8 also now allows improvements that were made to the aircraft since the original source selection to be admitted into consideration.  This also creates an unlevel playing field tilted in the favor of Hawker Beechcraft. The company performed development and testing operations on its AT-6 aircraft with millions of dollars of Air Force Title 10 funding during the on-going evaluation process, and continues to do so.  This government funded activity, which also involved Air National Guard pilots and use of Air Force ranges, is now eligible to be unfairly admitted for consideration.  

The A-29 Super Tucano remains the only aircraft proven capable of meeting the needs of the LAS mission today.  It is currently in use with six militaries around the globe and performing counterinsurgency and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) operations.  With more than eight years in service and more than 160 aircraft delivered, much is known about the performance, operational effectiveness and costs to operate and maintain the Super Tucano.  The Super Tucano is a fully developed, operational aircraft, which means that if SNC is successful in its action, U.S. troops will be one step closer to home and U.S. partner nations one step closer to being self supportive.

“We know we have the most capable aircraft and best overall solution that meet the needs of our warfighters and allies on the ground in Afghanistan and that provide significant value to the American taxpayer.  Our concern is that despite the stated goal of the RFP to select the solution offering mission capability assurance and the best value, this process is being set up to select the low-price-technically-acceptable offering.  Everyone loses under these circumstances – the Air Force, the U.S. Taxpayer and most significantly, those U.S.  troops on the ground who have requested this capability,” Gilbert said. 

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04/17/2012 - SNC Moves for Judicial Review of CDI

SNC Moves for Judicial Review of CDI

SPARKS, Nev., April 17, 2012 -- Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) filed a motion with the United States Court of Federal Claims April 16 asking for judicial review of the results of the Commander Directed Investigation (CDI) in the still-pending lawsuit filed by Hawker Beechcraft Defense Company (HBDC) against the U.S. Air Force.  The lawsuit resulted in the USAF setting aside the Light Air Support (LAS) contract previously awarded to SNC and opening a Commander Directed Investigation into the source selection process.  The Air Force announced April 13 that Part 1 of the CDI was completed.  SNC's motion seeks court review of Part 1 of the CDI to allow the judge to have all the relevant facts available to make a fair and expeditious decision on the way forward in the lawsuit.  

"We believe it is important to the goals of transparency, a fair and open competition and the integrity of the process that the Court now review the results of the Air Force investigation and actions, including determining whether the agency's proposed corrective actions were justified and reasonable," said SNC Taco Gilbert, Vice President of ISR Business Development at SNC.  "The results of the CDI, after all, speak to the very core of the litigation brought by Hawker Beechcraft. If this matter can be expeditiously resolved through the court, it is better for American taxpayers, U.S. jobs, our military men and women, our partner nations and for our nation's security."

Hawker Beechcraft sued the US Air Force in December 2011 after being disqualified from the LAS competition for failure to adequately correct deficiencies in its proposal and because its plane was found technically deficient and presented "unacceptable mission capability risk." It asked the Court to review the selection process surrounding the USAF decision to disqualify HBDC from the LAS competition and subsequently award the LAS contract to SNC. 

"At the time the Air Force took its corrective action, neither the Judge nor the parties had full insight into the initial basis for the Air Force's dissatisfaction with the documentation supporting the source selection decision-making process.  Now that material information exists on this pivotal issue, it is in the best interest of all parties that it be reviewed as a part of Hawker Beechcraft's continuing lawsuit.  The Federal Claims Court also is the appropriate forum for this review as it is subject to a protective order and will protect proprietary source selection information," Gilbert said. 

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03/07/2012 - Sierra Nevada Corporation Urges U.S Air Force to Conclude LAS Competition Swiftly, Based on Substantial Work Already Done

SIERRA NEVADA CORPORATION URGES US AIR FORCE TO CONCLUDE LAS COMPETITION SWIFTLY, BASED ON SUBSTANTIAL WORK ALREADY DONE 

USAF Clarifies Investigation of LAS Contract Award Focused on Internal Issues

SPARKS, NV, March 7, 2012 – Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) today called on the United States Air Force (USAF) to move expeditiously to select an aircraft for its Light Air Support (LAS) Program.

Specifically, the company urges the USAF to issue a plan and timeline for moving forward with the selection process, make use of the substantial information received under its original source selection, and maintain the high standards for aircraft performance in the original Request for Proposal (RFP) that were based on the unique requirements of the LAS mission.  

The company also said it received clarification from the USAF that its investigation of the LAS contract award is focused on USAF paperwork issues and not the actions of either of the offerors in the competition.  According to Air Force Spokeswoman Jennifer L. Cassidy, “The Air Forces agreed to take corrective action and suspend the Light Air Support contract awarded to Sierra Nevada Corporation because the Air Force Senior Acquisition Executive, David Van Buren, was not satisfied with the quality of the documentation supporting the award decision.  This documentation issue was internal to the Air Force and is not the result of actions of any offeror.  The Air Force has initiated a Commander Directed Investigation (CDI) to look at internal acquisition policies and procedure.”  

Given the current situation – a USAF review that is limited to internal processes, a looming deadline to get the LAS aircraft into service in Afghanistan, and more than 14 months already spent assessing the competing aircraft – SNC and its partners believe there is no reason the USAF should not now move quickly to put forward a plan for an expedited review process.  

“We appreciate that mistakes happen and that the Air Force has taken a firm stance to maintain the integrity of their acquisition process.  However, we are also aware that this is the second time the Department of Defense has been frustrated in attempts to send this capability to Afghanistan,” said Taco Gilbert, Ret. USAF Brigadier General, and Vice President of ISR Business Development at SNC, referring to the cancellation of Operation Imminent Fury. “There are men and women from the United States and our allies engaged in combat operations everyday that have called for this capability.”  Currently, all fixed-wing combat power in Afghanistan is supplied by the US and other allies. 

“One of my principal concerns is that there will be an effort to lower the system requirements for the LAS competition, which would jeopardize the mission,” Gilbert said. “That would mean combat forces would be saddled with an aircraft that has been determined to be ‘technically insufficient’ and that carries ‘unacceptable capability risk.’”

“The stakes are high.  The operational imperative is to get a LAS capability to Afghanistan quickly to transition security responsibilities and a redeployment of U.S. forces elsewhere. There is also a need to preserve the significant taxpayer dollars and countless hours already spent evaluating the two competing aircraft,” Gilbert said.  “Rewriting the RFP to a lower set of standards or starting the competition over at this point would endanger these goals.”  

“Given the word from the Air Force, SNC and our partners are ready to move in extremely rapid fashion,” Gilbert said, adding, “at this point in the process, Hawker Beechcraft should be ready to do the same. Their reasons for standing in the way of this process no longer exist.” 

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02/29/2012 - Letter From Rep. Allen B. West to Michael B. Donley, Secretary of the Air Force

Letter From Rep. Allen B. West to Michael B. Donley, Secretary of the Air Force

February 29, 2012

   Download PDF Version of Letter

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02/28/2012 - Statement of Taco Gilbert, Ret. USAF Brigadier General, and Vice President of ISR Business Development for Sierra Nevada Corporation on U.S. Air Force Decision to Set Aside Award of Light Air Support Contract

Statement of Taco Gilbert, Ret. USAF Brigadier General, and Vice President of ISR Business Development for Sierra Nevada Corporation on U.S. Air Force Decision to Set Aside Award of Light Air Support Contract

SPARKS, Nevada, Feb. 28, 2012 -- Taco Gilbert, Ret. USAF Brigadier General, and Vice President of ISR Business Development at Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) issued the following statement in response to the announcement by the U.S. Air Force that it will set aside the contract issued in December for Light Air Support capabilities (LAS):

"We are disappointed by this decision.  We offered the U.S. Air Force a fully proven and cost-effective Light Air Support solution – and one that would be made in America, create and support American jobs and result in economic investment in the U.S.  We know that our submission fully met the requirements of the U.S Air Force Request for Proposal (RFP) and that Sierra Nevada Corporation fully complied with the RFP process as set out by the U.S. Air Force.

"Today's announcement only further delays the effort to get critical capabilities into the hands of our men and women in uniform and our coalition partners in-theatre.  It also stymies efforts to create jobs and economic development at a time when our economy needs the boost.

"SNC and our team remain ready to get to work on this important contract. The A-29 Super Tucano, made in America, is the only plane that is capable today of meeting the requirements of the LAS mission. Nothing changes the fact that the war-fighter needs this capability immediately."

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02/15/2012 - Sierra Nevada Corporation Exploring Options to Mitigate Delays in Meeting April 2013 Delivery Date For LAS Aircraft

SIERRA NEVADA CORPORATION EXPLORING OPTIONS TO MITIGATE DELAYS IN MEETING APRIL 2013 DELIVERY DATE FOR LAS AIRCRAFT

SPARKS, NV, February 15, 2012 – Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) today announced that it is exploring ways to mitigate delays in meeting the April 2013 delivery schedule for the first aircraft called for under United States Air Force Light Air Support (LAS) contract.   SNC was awarded that contract in late December, but due to a lawsuit filed by the disqualified competitor for the contract, has been prevented from initiating work.  In a briefing paper issued in late January, the Air Force acknowledged that it expected delivery of the aircraft to be delayed due to the current litigation.

The aircraft to be provided is the Embraer A-29 Super Tucano.  It will be used in Afghanistan to conduct advanced flight training, aerial reconnaissance and light air support operations.  It is integral to U.S. plans to provide the Afghanistan government with an indigenous advanced training and combat capable aircraft to facilitate that country’s internal security capability.

In an article published Jan. 15, Brig. Gen. Tim Ray, the NATO Air Training Command-Afghanistan commander, called the A-29 Super Tucano "tailor made" for the Afghan's counterinsurgency mission. "The Tucano is the most kinetic, most offensive aircraft they'll have, and I'm sure a big morale boost to the troops on the ground when they see it overhead. It's the right kind of platform for the terrain, the fight and most importantly, it's easy to sustain," he said.

“We recognize the importance of this aircraft to successfully ending the U.S. mission in Afghanistan,” said Taco Gilbert, Ret. USAF Brigadier General, and Vice President of ISR Business Development at SNC.  “Given the stakes and given recent reports of a potentially accelerated end to U.S. combat operations there, we are looking at all possible options for speeding up our production and delivery timeline.  However, until the stop work order is lifted, we cannot make any movement in this regard.”

The U.S. Air Force issued a temporary stop work order January 4 in response to a lawsuit filed by Hawker Beechcraft in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. That suit challenges Hawker’s elimination from the LAS competition.  The Air Force notified Hawker Beechcraft in November that its proposal was not in the competitive range and that it had been disqualified from the competition.  The Air Force based its determination on the finding that “multiple deficiencies [PDF] and significant weaknesses found in [Hawker Beechcraft’s] proposal make it technically unacceptable and results in unacceptable mission capability risk.” 

The A-29 Super Tucano is mission ready and combat proven.   It is currently in use with six air forces around the world, performing counterinsurgency and close air support operations.  The LAS aircraft will be made in America by American workers.  Embraer is investing millions of dollars in the development of a new military aircraft production facility in Jacksonville, FL, creating at least 50 new high tech jobs in the process.  More than 88 percent of the dollar value of the A-29 Super Tucano comes from components supplied by American companies or countries that qualify under the Buy America Act.  In all, more than 70 U.S. companies will supply parts or services related to this contract, supporting another 1,200+ jobs across the country.

“SNC, Embraer, and all of our team members are committed to the LAS mission and to bringing a successful close to U.S. operations in Afghanistan,” Gilbert said.  “However, this will only happen if we can equip the Afghanis with the tools and training they need to develop their own counterinsurgency capability.  We are looking at how we can speed up our process; we hope that there will be a swift resolution to the litigation and an end to unnecessary delays of this critical program.”

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01/04/2012 - Sierra Nevada Corporation Statement: U.S. Air Force Stop Work Order on Light Air Support Award

Sierra Nevada Corporation Statement

U.S. Air Force Stop Work Order on Light Air Support Award

SPARKS, NV, JANUARY 4, 2012 – Sierra Nevada Corporation issued the following statement in response to a stop work order received today from the U.S. Air Force on the recently issued Light Air Support (LAS) contract: 

Our team is excited to have been awarded the LAS contract by the U.S. Air Force as a result of a fair and open competition and after a favorable review by the Government Accountability Office.  

We remain confident that the issue will resolved expeditiously.  These critical LAS capabilities need to be made available soon in order to support our men and women in uniform and our partners in Afghanistan.

The A-29 Super Tucano, built in America, is the right solution for the LAS mission. 

Sierra Nevada Corporation, a woman owned company, and all our numerous partners across the U.S. who will contribute to this contract stand ready to continue work and to serve our nation by providing the most proven capable light air support aircraft that meets the U.S Air Force’s requirements. 

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12/30/2011 - A-29 Super Tucano Wins Air Force Bid for Light Air Support Mission

A-29 SUPER TUCANO WINS AIR FORCE BID FOR LIGHT AIR SUPPORT MISSION

SPARKS, NV, DECEMBER 30, 2011 – Eren Ozmen, President, Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC), and Luiz Carlos Aguiar, CEO, Embraer Defense and Security (Embraer), today announced that the U.S. Air Force has selected SNC, partnered with Embraer, to supply Light Air Support (LAS) aircraft to be used as part of the U.S. government’s partner building efforts in Afghanistan and other nations.  The A-29 Super Tucano will be used to conduct advanced flight training, aerial reconnaissance and light air support operations.  

FOR JOURNALISTS: Download additional press materials here.

As specified by the Air Force, SNC is being awarded a firm-fixed price delivery order 0001 contract in the amount of $355,126,541 for the Light Air Support (LAS) aircraft and associated support.  The delivery order is being issued under the simultaneously awarded basic contract FA8637-12-D-6001, an indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) contract.  The initial demand is for 20 LAS aircraft together with ground training devices to support pilot training and support for all maintenance and supply requirements for the aircraft and associated support equipment.  

“We are honored by this decision and the opportunity to serve our country,” said Taco Gilbert, Vice President of ISR Business Development at SNC. “We believe in the goals of the Light Air Support mission and are proud to be able to support the United States in its partner-building efforts in Afghanistan and elsewhere around the world.  American warfighters, American workers, and our partner nations all win with this award.” 

The LAS mission requires a non-developmental solution that provides the versatility, engagement, and persistence that the warfighter needs in a counterinsurgency environment, at a significantly lower cost than fighter jets.  That aircraft must offer intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities; deliver a wide variety of munitions configurations, including precision guided munitions; and operate in extremely rugged terrain and austere conditions.   

The A-29 Super Tucano was built specifically for counterinsurgency missions and is currently used by six air forces and on order by others.  It has proven extremely capable for LAS missions and is credited with helping the Colombian government defeat the FARC and other governments counter illegal activities.  The more than 150 units now in operation around the world have logged over 130,000 flight hours, including more than 18,000 combat hours without any combat loss.   

“We are ready to support the LAS mission immediately,” said Luiz Carlos Aguiar, President Embraer Defense and Security.  “This is a tremendous opportunity for Embraer, the citizens of Florida and the thousands of employees who will be part of our supply chain.  We look forward to working with SNC and the U.S. Air Force to provide these aircraft.”

The LAS bid process received strong support from political leaders and Members of Congress from many states, including Florida, Nevada, Colorado, Texas and Oregon. “The goal of Sierra Nevada's team, which included its partner Embraer and major suppliers FLIR, based in Oregon, and Elbit Systems of America, based in Texas, was to present the U.S. Air Force and partner nations with the best LAS capability.  We appreciate the many Members of Congress and other officials who supported a fair and open competition. We are particularly grateful to the many Florida state officials and members of the Florida congressional delegation who assisted in establishing a production facility in their state that will result in the creation of new jobs, bringing prosperity to their communities,” SNC’s Gilbert said.

The A-29 Super Tucano will be built in Jacksonville, FL by American employees with parts from American companies.  Aircraft training will be provided in Clovis, NM.  More than 70 U.S. suppliers in 21 states will supply parts or services for this contract.  At least 1,200 U.S. jobs will be supported through this contract. 

Embraer is now moving to prepare for assembly operations.  The new production facility in Jacksonville joins a facility in Melbourne recently opened by Embraer to assemble executive jets. 

With a fully developed aircraft, a familiar supply chain and SNC’s expertise in providing in-theater logistical support, commanders in theater will take possession of the first A-29 Super Tucanos on-schedule and on-budget as per the LAS requirements. 

Embraer will provide the A-29 Super Tucano aircraft; ground training devices (GTD) – simulators and planning stations; and spare parts.  SNC will provide in-field logistic support and pilot and maintenance training.

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