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Despite sequestration, Air Force contract lands new jobs on the First Coast

2:22 PM, Mar 26, 2013   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- One of the tools being used in the draw down out of Afghanistan is being built in a hangar at the Jacksonville International Airport.

On Tuesday Gov. Rick Scott, Embraer executives and local leaders cut the ribbon on the hanger where 20 new Super Tucano planes will be built, bringing in 50 skilled jobs to Jacksonville.

Embraer will be building the planes, with the first one set to be done in 2014. It is a $427 million dollar contract with the Air Force, but will sequestration affect the contract?

"We don't think so, we think this contract is protected," said Fredrico Curado, the President and CEO of Embraer.

"We don't see any threat on that," said Luiz Carlos Aguiar, the President of Embraer Defense & Security.

Gary Spulak, the President of Embraer Aircraft Holdings, added that despite sequestration, the planes are still needed by the Air Force.

"It is a very important component to the draw down in Afghanistan so that being said, and I believe it is an urgent need," said Spulak.

In fact, there is optimism that after the first 20 planes, the contract could grow.

Beechcraft, another company that was hoping to build the A-29 Super Tucano, is fighting the Air Force's decision to use Embraer, but Gov. Rick Scott says he is not worried.

"These fights over when someone wins a contract is ridiculous," said Gov. Scott.

Embraer is a Brazilian born company, but its CEO says only 20 percent of the plane will be built in Brazil. The other 80 percent will be built in America.

Spulak said the interview process is underway for the 50 new jobs. 

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