| WASHINGTON, April 10
WASHINGTON, April 10 Brazilian aircraft maker
Embraer, which won and abruptly lost a contract with
the U.S. Air Force to supply up to $1 billion in light attack
planes to the Afghan government, said on Tuesday that winning
the bid again would prove there were no politics involved.
Embraer President and Chief Executive Frederico Curado said
the issue of the contract was raised by the Brazilian government
in meetings with the White House on Monday and that the company
expects to be able to bid again within a few weeks.
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff's visit with President
Barack Obama on Monday highlighted some strains between the
countries, with Rousseff complaining about U.S. monetary policy
and U.S.-sponsored sanctions on Iran. The Embraer contract
cancellation was another point of tension.
Privately held Sierra Nevada Corp and Embraer beat out
Hawker Beechcraft to win the deal in December.
But the Air Force in February canceled the initial contract
award, valued at $355 million, when it discovered an error while
preparing for a lawsuit filed by Hawker challenging the decision
in federal claims court.
The cancellation raised suspicions in Brazil that it was
done so that Obama, who faces reelection in November, would not
be seen moving jobs abroad.
"We have to in principle trust what we were told ... If we
have the same bidding process, the same specs ... we have to
believe that we will be selected again and that will prove that
there were no politics involved," Curado said.
Embraer, which booked $180 million in orders in March for
its Super Tucano light attack fighters in Burkina Faso, Angola
and Mauritania, has hoped to extend orders to NATO countries.
The Air Force contract would have been a step in that
direction, lifting the company into the upper class of global
Curado dismissed the possibility that U.S. jobs would be
lost to the Brazilian commercial planemaker, the world's
"It's inaccurate to say the least," he said, citing the fact
that the final assembly of the planes would be in the United
States. "It would be a U.S.-built aircraft. It would be another
export product for the United States in all purposes," Curado
A winning bid, the company said, would help sustain 1,200
existing jobs at Embraer, Sierra Nevada, and U.S. suppliers and
Embraer also announced the signing of an agreement on Monday
with Boeing Co to cooperate on research and technology in
aircraft safety, aviation biofuels, and cockpit safety and