Embraer Eyes More U.S. Military Contracts

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Embraer is planning to bid on at least three more U.S. Air Force contracts as it awaits word on the legal challenge to its recent victory in the competition for a light air support platform. In an interview with Reuters, Luiz Carlos Aguiar was dismissive about Hawker Beechcraft's legal challenge to the contract award, in which the Air Force chose Embraer's Super Tucano after kicking Hawker Beech's AT-6B out of the competition. The Air Force has since suspended work on the LAS project but Aguiar told Reuters he expects a speedy decision by the courts to confirm the contract and allow deliveries of the armed-to-the-teeth turboprop single to begin this year from a plant in Jacksonville. "Our team is totally ready. No one was deactivated," said Aguiar. "You just press the button and we go to work." Aguiar said he expects the $950 million Super Tucano deal to be a springboard for more international defense work for Embraer.

The U.S. deal is Embraer's first with a NATO alliance member and he said it should pave the way for deals with other NATO countries. "It naturally opens the door to the NATO countries, which have many joint operations," he said. Aguiar didn't specify which other U.S. contracts it's bidding on but it's developing UAVs and a military transport known as the KC-390.