Wednesday, March 06, 2013

USAF Picks "Light Air Support" Aircraft - Embraer Super Tucano (again)

Having a slower, lower, long-linger time aircraft for use in "small wars" is a nice option.

The USAF has now selected (again) the Embraer Super Tucano to fill that role, as set out by the manufacturer in a press release here:
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.
Earlier post on CAS/LAS aircraft here and a look at another use for such aircraft here.

Don't know how career-enhancing being an A-29 pilot will be, but it looks like interesting enough work.


  1. When they hang a couple of pods on this with APKWS rockets this plane could stand off at a safer distance for quite awhile and plink at whatever has been designated.
    Even with a two hour flight time to the area where needed it could still have two hours overhead, two hours back and two hours in reserve, give or take a little.

    Now, will it be able to be flown of a LHD and land back aboard?

    There, now I have said and asked what many have said and asked before.

  2. Anonymous9:30 AM

    I'm guessing it will transition to the reserves pretty quickly, the way the OV-10s did. Still it does fill a void that was left after the OV-10 was retired.


  3. None of the AF zoomies will want to fly an A-29. With these birds destined to AFG, I see a quick truncation of their service. Which of course is too bad for troops on the ground who NEED CAS in the small wars we seem to get into?

  4. Anonymous8:34 AM

    Given the reliance we're already placing on the Guard and Reserve for active combat operations, the lack of interest by the regular AF may not actually make much difference, as far as pilots being wiling to fly it goes. The biggest hurdle will probably be having an advocate at the Pentagon to insure contiued logistic support.