Whenever I talk to my brother about politics, invariably the conversation turns to manufacturing. His position is American manufacturing is not what it once was and that is a national security risk. He believes that if America cannot produce the material it needs, in America, then we are in a weakened position on the world stage.
It’s a very valid point. We have to be able to turn our backs on the world and build our military without the help of anyone else.
Now, with manufacturing capacity in American on the decline, the United States Air Force is considering outsourcing the manufacturing of a new light attack and armed reconnaissance (LAAR) aircraft to a Brazilian company. And when I say “Brazilian,” I don’t just mean the company is based in Brazil. I mean the company is owned by the Brazilian government.
Stephen DeMaura writes at Red State about the company being considered for the LAAR contract, Embraer”
Awarding an integral defense contract to the Brazilian-controlled Embraer is even more worrisome due to a little known clause in the Embraer corporate governance by-laws known as the Brazilian “Golden Share.” The Golden Share allows the Brazilian government to maintain direct control and veto rights over the “creation and/or alteration of military programs, whether or not involving the Federative Republic of Brazil” as well as the “interruption of the supply of maintenance and replacement parts for military aircraft.”
The Brazilian government’s direct control over Embraer would put the production of the light attack and reconnaissance aircraft at the mercy and whim of Brazil’s political leaders who too often do not see eye to eye with the United States on foreign policy issues. In fact, they have been noticeably absent from the War on Terror over the last decade. The same War on Terror from which they are now seeking to profit.
Embraer is competing against an American company, located right in America’s heartland, Hawker Beechcraft. Awarding them the contract would be a win-win for America. It would secure military manufacturing and jobs in America:
Winning the AT-6 would help sustain 1,400 jobs in 20 states, including 800 Hawker Beechcraft jobs in Wichita.
That’s how many currently work on the AT-6 and T-6 programs at the company and its U.S. partners and suppliers, the company said.
In January, Hawker Beechcraft signed an agreement with the Salina airport to use its facilities for pilot and maintenance training associated with the contract.
The AT-6 makes sense for the Air Force since all U.S. Navy, Air Force and Marine pilots train in the T-6, Maslowski said.
“It’s the logical fit,” Maslowski said.
It’s an easy transition to fly the AT-6, he said.
It’s highly unlikely we will ever face a time when it’s America vs. the world, but by putting the manufacturing of American military hardware in the hands of a foreign government, we put ourselves at increased risk of being able to defend American interests if said contry ever decides they don’t like us so much.
For decades we have produced the most advanced military machinery in the world. There’s no need to outsource our military manufacturing when American companies, who have delivered time and time again, are able and willing to continue delivering the goods.
Awarding the contract to Brazil’s Embraer would be illogical and unnecessary.
As always, it’s not enough for you to sit in silent agreement. The decision has yet to be made. You can and should attempt to influence it. Contact your representatives and let them know that it’s important to you that American military aircraft be manufactured in America. You can search for your representatives here, or if you have a smartphone, The Sunlight Foundation has a free app for the Android. iPhone users can download an app by the same name for just under a buck. It’s called “Congress” and will give you the names and phone numbers to your representatives.
Contact your people in Washington and tell them to keep the manufacturing of American military aircraft in American hands.