In Fort Lauderdale on Monday, Embraer and new partner Sierra Nevada showed off a Super Tucano that had just completed flight demonstrations for the US Air Force. The light-strike turboprop is bidding for the light air support (LAS) contract against the Lockheed Martin/Hawker Beechcraft AT-6. This particular Super Tucano was on loan to the manufacturer from an unidentified African country (which I believe is probably Burkina Faso), and features an unusually soft paint scheme.
The big news is that Sierra Nevada is Embraer's prime contractor for the bid. Under the US Army's medium altitude reconnaissance and surveillance system (MARSS) contract, Sierra Nevada delivered the aerial surveillance version of the King Air 350s to the Iraqi Air Force. The goals of the LAS program are similar, but the light strike fighters will be delivered to the Afghan Air Force. Contract award for LAS is scheduled in June.
Meanwhile, Sierra Nevada pilot Chris Brayman spoke to reporters about the light strike mission, and why he thinks the Super Tucano is a good fit. See below.