PARIS: Embraer Super Tucano to make debut Paris air show appearance

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Embraer will display its A-29 Super Tucano at the Paris air show for the first time, a top company official says. The aircraft will not fly, but will be on static display.

"We are going to bring our Super Tucano to Le Bourget," says Luiz Carlos Aguiar, chief executive of Embraer Defense and Security. "This is the first time in history the airplane will be there."

The A-29 that will be on display at Paris is an aircraft destined for Mauritania, Aguiar says. The nation has so far taken deliver of two light-attack aircraft from a three-unit order signed in March 2012.

Aguiar says it is important for Embraer to showcase the Super Tucano after the company's victory over Beechcraft's AT-6 during the US Air Force's Light Air Support (LAS) contest. While the 20 aircraft that are to be delivered for the LAS contract are for Afghanistan rather than for the USAF's own use, the service's selection is an important endorsement of the Super Tucano's capabilities.

"After our win in the US, it seems to me that the interest from other countries is increasing," Aguiar says. "We expect to have more sales of the A-29."

There have already been two new customers for the aircraft since the LAS selection: Guatemala and Senegal, he notes. Moreover, there is growing interest in the Super Tucano in Africa, Asia and Latin America. So far, Embraer has delivered 175 Super Tucanos out of a total order book for 216 aircraft, and the company hopes to add more sales.

Currently, Embraer builds 12 Super Tucanos per year, but Aguiar expects production to ramp up to 20 per annum in the future. The company will have the capacity to build 24 additional aircraft per year at its new US-based facility in Florida, Aguiar says. The first example to be built in the USA will start assembly towards the end of 2013 and will be delivered by June 2014, he adds.

Meanwhile, Embraer is making headway on its other flagship project, the KC-390 tanker/transport. Engineering drawings have been released to component suppliers and parts for the first two prototypes are under construction, says Aguiar, who adds that the company expects to make a big announcement about the programme during the Paris air show.