Support & Smokes for Brazil’s Super Tucanos
October 18/17: Brazilian aerospace giant Embraer has announced the firm order for six of its A-29 Super Tucano aircraft. The unnamed customer will start to receive the light attack, surveillance, and advanced trainer planes from 2018, however, no further details of the sale were given. Marketed as a durable, versatile and powerful turboprop aircraft capable of carrying out a wide range of missions, Super Tucanos have clocked over 320,000 flight hours and nearly 40,000 combat hours in during its ten years in service. In August, the aircraft faced off against three other competitors in a demonstration held for the US Air Force’s Light Attack Experiment (OA-X), with military officials from Canada, Australia, UAE, Paraguay, among others, in attendance. The USAF is hoping to combat test the aircraft in the Middle East, although no fixed date has been set.
Brazil has kicked off the LAAD 2013 expo with a pair of announcements related to their Super Tucano fleet. The first is a 5-year, BRL 252 million (about $127.4 million) contract for Embraer to support the FAB’s 92 remaining “A-29″/EMB-314 Super Tucanos, of the 99 originally purchased. Programa de Suporte LogÃstico Integrado (PSLI) is a fixed-price contract with performance requirements, mirroring Britain’s recent advances in reducing support costs using “contracting for availability.” PLSI covers materials and planning, supplies for scheduled and unscheduled maintenance, repairs, and overhauls of components, support for the landing gear and propeller groups, and specialized technical support. The basic service package is BRL 223 million, with BRL set aside for unexpected services. Embraer.
The number of combat-capable Super Tucanos is about to shrink, however, as Brazil’s national “Esquadrilha da Fumaca” (“Smoke Squadron”) aerobatic team will get 12 of the FAB’s A-29s. They’ll replace the current “T-27″/ EMB-312 Tucanos with a larger, higher performance aircraft. Embraer received BRL 26.1 million ($13.2 million) guaranteed: a BRL 16 million contract to convert the Super Tucanos for aerobatics by stripping off unneeded weight and adding provisions for smoke pods, etc., plus a BRL 10.1 million service package. Another BRL 5.9 million ($3 million) could be added if the FAB picks up the option for ground support equipment and additional services. Embraer.
October 18/17: Brazilian aerospace firm Embraer has announced the firm order for six of its A-29 Super Tucano aircraft. The unnamed customer will start to receive the light attack, surveillance, and advanced trainer planes from 2018, however, no further details of the sale were given. Marketed as a durable, versatile and powerful turboprop aircraft capable of carrying out a wide range of missions, Super Tucanos have clocked over 320,000 flight hours and nearly 40,000 combat hours in during its ten years in service. In August, the aircraft faced off against three other competitors in a demonstration held for the US Air Force’s Light Attack Experiment (OA-X), with military officials from Canada, Australia, UAE, Paraguay, among others, in attendance. The USAF is hoping to combat test the aircraft in the Middle East, although no fixed date has been set.
October 12/17: The Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) has received delivery of the first two A-29 Super Tucano light attack and reconnaissance aircraft donated by the US. A total of six aircraft will be delivered, as part of a $462 million package that includes two spare engines, MX-15 electro-optical sensor systems, 2,000 Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) laser-guidance kits for 70 mm rockets, eight AN/AAR-60(V)2 missile launch detection systems, and eight ALE-47 countermeasures dispensing systems to protect against ground-based air-defence systems, navigations systems, and support equipment and services. The A-29s will also be able to launch AGM-114 Hellfire missiles, as well as GBU-12 and GBU-58 Paveway II laser-guided bombs, although these weapons were not included in the proposed package.
August 16/17: Following the completion of ongoing demonstrations as part of the USAF’s light attack aircraft experiment, potential aircraft may then face a combat demonstration in the Middle East. Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson told reporters last week that the aircraft—the A-29 Super Tucano from Sierra Nevada Corp. and Embraer, the AT-802L Longsword by L3 and Air Tractor, and the AT-6 Wolverine and Scorpion jet, both by Textron—could all face missions against militants from the Islamic State and other terrorist groups as part of the demonstration’s next phase. The ongoing flights at Holloman AFB in New Mexico have already has several top Air Force officials view the trials, as well as representatives from about a dozen international partner militaries, including members from Canada, Australia, the United Arab Emirates and Paraguay.
August 07/17: The US State Department has cleared Nigeria to proceed with the purchase of 12 A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircraft in a deal estimated to be worth $593 million. Sierra Nevada Corporation of Colorado will act as lead contractor in the sale, and in conjunction with the aircraft, the company will provide weapons for the platform, as well as all associated training, spare parts, aviation and ground support equipment, and hangar, facilities, and infrastructure required to support the program. The aircraft will support Nigerian military operations against terrorist organizations Boko Haram and ISIS West Africa, and Nigerian efforts to counter illicit trafficking in Nigeria and the Gulf of Guinea. Sierra Nevada, in partnership with the A-29’s original manufacturer Embraer, have already sold the aircraft to the Lebanese and Afghan air forces, and the team is currently demonstrating it as part of a USAF experiment that could lead to a new USAF OA-X program of record.
June 7/17: Despite the protectionist rhetoric coming from the Trump administration, Embraer is still confident that it can continue to make strides in the US market despite its Brazilian heritage. The firm is currently preparing its A-29 Super Tucano with Sierra Nevada Corp. for the USAF’s upcoming light attack aircraft experiment, which could lead to a program of record for a long-delayed OA-X platform. However, President Donald Trump’s continued push of his “America First” policy could give a leg up to Embraer’s probable competition — the Wichita, Kansas-based Textron, which will fly its Scorpion jet and AT-6 turboprop plane in the demo. In response Gary Spulak, president of Embraer’s US subsidiary, said that $1.6 billion of the company’s $6.2 billion revenue had came from its US subsidiary, including ongoing production of 26 Super Tucanos for Afghanistan and Lebanon under a contract with the USAF.
May 16/17: Embraer has announced that it will enter its A-29 Super Tucano into the US Air Force’s upcoming OA-X experiment. The Brazilian manufacturer will team with Sierra Nevada Corporation for the July demonstration, which aims to test low-cost options for acquiring light attack aircraft for the service. Manufactured in Florida and in use by a dozen air forces worldwide, the A-29 is a durable, versatile and powerful turboprop aircraft capable of carrying out a wide range of fighter and ISR missions. The USAF-certified A-29 is combat-proven, having seen combat in Afghanistan and in theaters around the globe.
March 22/17: Afghanistan’s Air Wing has taken delivery of four additional A-29 attack aircraft, bringing to twelve the amount in operation by the service. The latest batch arrived from Moody Air Force Base, Georgia, where seven other Super Tucanos are currently assigned for training purposes. An anonymous pilot at the AAW said the extra air craft “will allow us to increase the number of missions we are able to support nationwide,” adding that “more targets can be attacked—more ground troops can be supported.”
February 13/17: Manufacturer Embraer has been granted permission from the Brazilian government to sell pre-owned A-29 Super Tucano aircraft to Nigeria. The Nigerian Air Force said the light attack aircraft will boost their operational capabilities in tackling insurgents in the country such as Boko Haram. Three Super Tucano’s will be transferred between both nations’ airforces following the completion of legal procedures.
December 1/16: Defense officials from Bolivia are exploring the possibility of purchasing A-29 Super Tucanos from Brazil. The Embraer-made light attack aircraft will be used to clamp down on illegal activity, namely drug and mineral trafficking, along both nation’s 3,423 km shared border. According to Brazil’s defense ministry, Bolivian interest in the counter-insurgency plane was raised during a meeting to deepen bilateral relations.