Embraer is moving ahead with its plans to assemble A-29 Super Tucano aircraft in Florida, even as Beechcraft Corp. challenges the Brazil-based company’s contract with the Air Force.
Embraer announced in a news release that it had signed a 10-year lease on a 40,000-square-foot hangar in Jacksonville, where the A-29 Super Tucano aircraft for the U.S. Air Force Light Air Support program will be assembled.
Embraer U.S. partner Sierra Nevada Corp. won the $427.5 million contract for 20 airplanes after a prolonged bidding process that was plagued by legal challenges launched by both Sierra Nevada and Beechcraft.
The project is expected to create about 1,400 jobs.
The planes are to be used by the Afghanistan air force as U.S. military personnel withdraw from the country.
“We have been looking forward to the day that we can officially establish our presence in Jacksonville and we are ready to get to work,” said Gary Spulak, president of Embraer Aircraft Holding, Inc., in a statement.
According to the release, the facility being used is near the Jacksonville International Airport and is being modified with “the support of the state of Florida, the City of Jacksonville and the Jacksonville Aviation.”
On Friday, members of Kansas congressional delegation asked the Air Force to stop work on the contract with Embraer until Beechcraft’s protest is considered. But members of Florida’s congressional delegation cheered the news about the agreement on the Jacksonville plant.