John Burr, Editor, Jacksonville Business Journal
December 30, 2011
Brazilian aircraft maker Embraer Friday won a Defense Department contract to manufacturer military aircraft in Jacksonville.
The contact, totaling $355 million, represents 50 high-wage jobs initially at an Embraer facility at Jacksonville International Airport. Mayor Alvin Brown
, who lobbied heavily for the contract, said the company could begin hiring in January.
“This is great economic news for Jacksonville,” Brown said in a news release. “The award reaffirms that Jacksonville is the most military and business friendly city in the United States.”
"It's about tapping our skilled workforce," Brown said in a phone interview. "We have graduates of the best colleges and universities here – the Naval Academy, West Point. They come here, serve and exit – why not tap that?"
Sierra Nevada Corporation
will partner with Embraer to supply Light Air Support (LAS) aircraft to be used in Afghanistan and other nations. The planes, the A-29 Super Tucanos, will be used to conduct advanced flight training, aerial reconnaissance and light air support operations. The contract calls for the manufacture of 20 planes, plus providing training and other support services to the U.S. Air Force.
The Mayor emphasized the importance of the team approach to economic development – the Jacksonville Aviation Authority
, JaxUSA partnership, congressional delegates and Gov Rick Scot were among those who traveled to Brazil to meet with Embraer executives, in addition to Brown.
The A-29 Super Tucano is currently flown by five air forces and on order by others, according to an Embraer news release. The company said the planes are credited with helping the Colombian government defeat the FARC insurgency.