By Nathan Hodge
The Wall Street Journal
January 10, 2012
Brazilian-based aircraft manufacturer Embraer SA won an important victory in late December, when the U.S. Air Force picked one of its planes to equip Afghanistan’s military.
But Embraer’s foothold in the U.S. defense market is now in question: rival Hawker Beechcraft Corp. is fighting in court to keep the Air Force from moving forward with the project. Defense analysts and observers say the legal tussle over the warplanes underscores how difficult it can be for foreign-based firms to crack the U.S. military market.
At stake is a contract worth $355 million to Embraer and its Nevada-based partner, lead contractor Sierra Nevada Corp., to deliver a fleet of 20 Embraer Super Tucano single-engine, turboprop planes that will fly training missions for Afghanistan’s nascent air force and attack insurgents on the ground.