The US Department of Defense (DoD) has extended the indefinite-delivery/indefinite quantity (ID/IQ) contract it has in place with Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) to deliver SNC-Embraer A-29 Super Tucano light attack turboprop aircraft to Afghanistan.
The DoD announced on 4 September that it is extending the ID/IQ contract by a further five years from August 2019 to the end of December 2024, and raising the ceiling from USD1.043 billion to USD1.808 billion. Work will be performed at Moody Air Force Base (AFB) in Georgia, as well as at Kabul, Kandahar, and Mazari Sharif air bases in Afghanistan.
With 26 Super Tucanos already contracted for the Afghan Air Force (AAF), 22 had been delivered as of May. Nine of these are being used by the United States Air Force’s (USAF’s) 81st Fighter Squadron at Moody AFB to train AAF pilots and maintainers, with the remainder flying combat missions in Afghanistan.
The Super Tucano has been active in Afghanistan from early 2016, since which time it has served as the AAF’s only fixed-wing combat aircraft. The Super Tucano’s range, speed, service ceiling, and availability (coupled with its ability to dispense precision-guided munitions), enables it to operate effectively throughout Afghanistan.
Powered by a single 1,600 SHP Pratt & Whitney PT6A-68/3 turboprop engine, the Super Tucano carries two 12.7 mm machine guns (200 rounds each) in the wings, and can be configured with additional underwing weaponry such as 20 mm cannon pods, additional 12.7 mm machine guns, rocket pods, precision-guided munitions, and/or ‘dumb’ bombs of up to 1,500 kg. It has a seven-hour endurance and can operate from semi-prepared air fields.
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