Skip to comments.Embraer sells Super Tucanos to three African countries
Posted on 03/29/2012 5:02:57 AM PDT by sukhoi-30mki
Embraer sells Super Tucanos to three African countries
Embraer has sold its Super Tucano light attack/trainer aircraft to Burkina Faso, Angola and Mauritania in deals worth a combined US$180 million, the Brazilian manufacturer announced yesterday.
The Burkina Faso Air Force has already received three Super Tucanos, which were spotted at Guararapes International Airport in Recife, Brazil, on September 7 last year during their delivery flight. They are currently being used for border patrol missions.
The Super Tucanos are a major boost to Burkina Fasos small air arm, whose only other combat aircraft are two Mi-35s acquired from Russia in 2005. Burkina Fasos other fixed wing combat aircraft (MiG-21s, MiG-17s, SF.260 Warriors and an Alpha Jet) are retired or in storage. Some other new acquisitions have been made over the last decade, including a Beech 200 super King Air, a Piper PA-34 Seneca, an Air Tractor AT-802, a CN-235 and two Xenon Gyroplanes.
The Angolan air force has ordered six Super Tucanos, the first three of which will be delivered this year for border patrol duties, Embraer announced at Chile's FIDAE defence and air show. Angola bought six new-production Tucanos plus two Embraer company demonstrators, which were delivered in 1999, followed by six more, delivered in 2004.
In addition, Mauritanias Air Force has ordered an undisclosed number of A-29s for counter-insurgency missions, Embraer said, adding that the total value of the three contracts, including an extensive logistical, training and replacement parts package, comes to more than US$180 million.
In 2010 France began supplying Mauritania with four ex-French EMB-312F Tucanos, but one crashed and was written off last year. Between 1993 and 2009 the French Air Force operated 50 Tucanos, which succeeded the Fouga Magister in the training role. The fleet was retired in 2009 as a cost-saving measure.
The acquisition of the Tucanos and Super Tucanos is part of the Mauritanian Air Forces growing capabilities, which are needed to deal with evolving security threats. Mauritania is among several countries in the Sahara region where al Qaeda-linked fighters have raised their profile with a series of attacks and kidnappings, particularly targeting Westerners and carrying out attacks in more urban areas.
Of particular concern is al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, (AQIM), which grew out of the militant Salafist movement in Algeria and has moved south where it is taking advantage of the vast and lawless desert regions of Mauritania, Mali and Niger.
Mauritanias armed forces have a small air component, with only two Reims FTB-337 Miliroles (Cessna 337s), five Britten Norman BN-2 Defenders, two Cessna 337 Skymasters, two Piper Pa-31T Navajo/Cheyene IIs, two HAMC Y-12(II)s, one Basler BT-67 and four Aermacchi SF-260Es in service, according to the 2012 IISS Military Balance.
The Super Tucano is highly efficient and presents low operating costs. Its capability for surveillance and counter-insurgency missions makes it ideal for service on the continent of Africa, said Luiz Carlos Aguiar, President, Embraer Defence and Security. The proof is in the fact that several customers will soon be exercising their purchase rights, and the airplane has awakened the interest of several African nations.
With the recent orders, nine air forces have now chosen the A-29 Super Tucano in Latin America, Africa and Southeast Asia, and the aircraft is already operating in six of them.
Aguiar told Reuters in January the company was aiming for contracts with other NATO nations. Embraer is pushing for sales in Latin America, Africa and Asia. Guatemala is seen as a potential customer while Indonesia, which has already bought eight Super Tucanos, may purchase more.
The recent orders help bolster the Super Tucano programme after the United States Air Force unexpectedly cancelled an order last month for 20 aircraft for the Afghan Air Force. Losing bidder Hawker Beechcraft, which had submitted its AT-6, contested the Super Tucano contract. While preparing for the Hawker lawsuit, the Air Force discovered that its decision had been inadequately documented, prompting Air Force Secretary Michael Donley to scrap the contract, which had an initial value of US$355 million to Sierra Nevada and its subcontractor Embraer.
Sierra Nevada is pressing the Air Force to redo the contest quickly, without lowering the requirements set for the original competition, from which the Hawker AT-6 plane was disqualified.
A review of the procurement shortcomings has been extended and is expected to be completed in early April.
The cancellation of the Super Tucano contract is one of several US orders Embraer has lost over the last 20 years. In the 1990s, the Super Tucano and Embraer in partnership with US-based Northrop Grumman lost out as the joint fighter training aircraft for NATO after heavy lobbying from US competitors.
In the mid-2000s, the Air Force also cancelled a contract with Lockheed Martin for an aerial reconnaissance plane that was to be based on the Embraer ERJ-145 regional jet.
The A-29 Super Tucano is capable of performing a broad range of missions that include light attack, aerial surveillance and interception, and counter-insurgency. The type has accumulated more than 130 000 flight hours and over 18 000 combat hours.
The Super Tucano is equipped with a variety of sensors and equipment, including an electo-optical/infrared system with laser designator, night vision goggles, secure communications and data-link package.
Armament comprises one .50-caliber machinegun in each wing. Five hardpoints can carry a maximum external load of 1 550 kilograms (3 420 lb). Weapons options include gun pods, bombs, rocket pods, and (on the two outboard stations) and air-to-air missiles.
I’ve always liked how the Tucano looked. It’s a handsome aircraft...in the same category of aesthetics as the P-51 or P-38...at least for me...
Can you imagine a P-51 with a turbo prop?...the Tucano is pretty close!
It’s always seemed to me that a plane like the Super Tucano would serve many of the defense needs of smaller, less-developed nations quite well. The ST has a nice balance of affordability and sophistication, with a pretty impressive weapons loadout and good defensive protection.
It’s a bad-ass crop duster!