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U.S. Light Support Aircraft Contract Heating Up

by: Matthew Potter
February 7, 2011

Category: Brazil, Business Line, Companies, Congress, Countries, Department of Defense, development program, Embraer, Events, Federal Budget Process, Florida, Hawker Beechcraft, Kansas, Military Aviation, production program, Proposal, Services, States, U.S. Air Force | RSS 2.0

The United States is discussing again buying a light, heavily armed aircraft to perform close support and homeland security missions. This would most likely be a turboprop powered rather then a jet and is similar to some aircraft operated by South American nations. This is a traditional aircraft role but one the U.S. really hasn’t invested in in Decades.

Since this is one of the few new aircraft that the U.S. Air Force and other services are pursuing it is attracting a great deal of attention. Two companies are bidding on the work although others such as Air Tractor have shown interest.

Hawker Beechcraft (OCX:C) is bidding their AT-6 aircraft. This company makes agricultural aircraft as well as executive transport and light civil aircraft. If they do win the contract it will aid the company in keeping its Kansas production and support facility at Salina going.

The Brazilian company Embraer which has made a range of aircraft for this mission for years is submitting their Super Tucano aircraft. Argentina and Brazil and other nations have operated these aircraft for over thirty years. Embraer is looking at establishing a production facility in Jacksonville, FL to support the contract.

Because this is an aircraft that really hasn’t been made in the U.S. since the North American OV-10 Bronco there resides some expertise overseas. The U.S. defense market despite its potential to see limited growth over the next decade is still attractive to foreign defense contractors. The U.S. has also shown willingness due to industrial base and competition issues to purchase non-U.S. designed and developed equipment.

Whichever aircraft the U.S. does buy will aid it in selling to overseas customers as it will have equipment that make it easier to integrate with U.S. communication systems as well as support from the U.S. government in funding and maintenance.

This competition may end up being one more example of that.

Photo from Jerry Gunner’s flickr photostream.

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  1. Tweets that mention U.S. Light Support Aircraft Contract Heating Up | Defense Procurement News -- Topsy.com on February 7th, 2011 4:22 am

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Dagpotter, DefProcureNews. DefProcureNews said: U.S. Light Support Aircraft Contract Heating Up: The United States is discussing again buying a light, heavily a… http://bit.ly/hZj6ko […]

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