* Embraer to deliver six Super Tucanos and command center
* Senegal orders three planes; fourth order from Africa
* Colombia called on the same plane in battle with the FARC
By Brad Haynes
RIO DE JANEIRO, April 9 Brazilian planemaker
Embraer SA has sold six Super Tucano light attack
planes to Guatemala to bolster its fight against drug
trafficking, according to a senior executive.
The Central American country has turned to the same
turboprop aircraft that Colombia used in its battle against the
FARC's guerrilla forces, Embraer's defense chief Luiz Carlos
Aguiar said in an interview ahead of the LAAD defense industry
show that starts on Tuesday in Rio de Janeiro.
Like neighboring Mexico, Guatemala has suffered the violence
of drug cartels that ship cocaine to the United States, giving
the country one of the world's highest murder rates. Guatemalan
President Otto Perez, a former military officer, has been an
outspoken critic of the prohibition policies fueling Latin
America's drug war, but the Super Tucano order makes clear that
the battle with cartels remains a priority.
Embraer will deliver six planes and a communications center
in Guatemala, Aguiar said. It is Embraer's first order to
include command and control operations since its defense unit
incorporated Atech, a company specializing in the field.
Guatemala will be the sixth Latin American country flying
Embraer's Super Tucano, and Aguiar said the company had also
added a fourth African client. Senegal ordered three of the
planes following purchases by neighboring Mauritania, nearby
Burkina Faso and Angola in southern Africa.
Aguiar said that sales activity surrounding the Super Tucano
has clearly accelerated since Embraer clinched an order from the
U.S. Air Force to supply 20 of the light attack planes for
counterinsurgency missions in Afghanistan.
"There are new clients, countries we hadn't even considered
showing up on our radar," said Aguiar.
The U.S. Air Force authorized Embraer last month to move
ahead on the $428 million order despite protests from rival
Aguiar said it will take about seven months to set up a new
plant in Jacksonville, Florida, building planes for the U.S.
contract. The first Super Tucanos should start rolling off the
line four or five months later, he added.
The LAAD Defense and Security Exhibition is a four-day event
and takes place every two years.