Over at Wired's Danger Room blog, Sharon Weinberger today writes about recent purchases by private security contractor Blackwater Worldwide. The company bought a light attack counterinsurgency aircraft, and more than 24 other aircraft, under the name of an obscure aviation firm:
An Embraer Super Tucano was placed on the U.S. civil aircraft registry on
February 21, 2008 under the name of EP Aviation LLC. Additionally, 28 other
aircraft have been registered to this company, most over the past few
months. The list includes 14 Bell 412 helicopters, as well as a number of
fixed wing aircraft.
While Blackwater hasn't advertised this news, neither is it keeping it a
state secret (EP Aviation isn't the sneakiest way to hide connections to
Blackwater owner Erik Prince). A spokesperson for Blackwater, in fact,
confirmed to Danger Room that EP Aviation is an affiliate of Blackwater.
Jane's Defence Weekly first reported last year that Blackwater was trying to
get an import license for the Super Tucano. (The Super Tucano's recent
registration was first reported as a small item in the April issue of Air
Forces Monthly.) But what isn't clear is why the company would register
these aircraft under the name EP Aviation LLC.