The deal adds yet another twist to the saga of the U.S. Air Force Light Air Support (LAS) program, where the Super Tucano is pitched against the somewhat similar Hawker Beechcraft AT-6. Embraer and Boeing said their new cooperation would not only enhance the Super Tucano solution for LAS, it would exceed the requirement “in ways that are important to the customer.”
There is a wider context to the news; Embraer and Boeing signed a broad cooperation agreement in April, followed two months later by a deal to collaborate on Embraer’s new KC-390 airlifter. “Why not space in the future?” said Luiz Carlos Aguiar, president of Embraer Defesa & Seguranca.
“This agreement enables integration of Boeing products like JDAM [missiles] on a highly affordable turboprop aircraft that offers unique close-air-support capabilities to customers worldwide,” said Dennis Muilenberg, president and CEO of Boeing Defense, Space and Security.
The Super Tucano is being offered for the LAS requirement by Sierra Nevada Corp. (SNC). Chris Chadwick, president of Boeing Military Aircraft, told AIN that his company offered “weapons capabilities that SNC does not have.”
Coincidentally, Boeing is aiming to fill Brazil’s requirement for 36 new fighters with the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, against stiff competition from the Dassault Rafale and Saab Gripen.
Meanwhile, the collaboration on the KC-390 includes technical exchange on innovation and design that leverages Boeing’s C-17 heavy airlifter experience. A joint global market study is under way to assess the market potential, said Aguiar.