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AMX - Embraaer

In the mid-1970s, Embraer had already achieved world recognition and started to consider the possibility of entering into partnerships with foreign companies in order to design more sophisticated aircraft. The first studies for the manufacturing of a subsonic airplane started back in 1976, in partnership with an Italian company called Macchi, which, at that time, already had a jet project at an advanced stage. The following year, the project called MB 340 was launched.

Subsequently, in order to meet the needs of the Italian Air Force, an association was made between the Italian companies Aeritália (now Alenia) and Macchi (now Aermacchi) and in 1978 the AMX subsonic fighter program was created (A from Aeritália, M from Macchi and X from experimental). The Brazilian company would assume responsibility for 1/3 of the program and costs and was responsible for the sections of the wing, tail unit and structure fatigue tests. Aermacchi would be responsible for the other 2/3 and produce the fuselage, onboard systems, and carry out the static tests and tests with weapons.

After a period when work was suspended, in 1980 Brazilian aeronautic authorities announced at the Farnborough Airshow their decision to participate in the Italian project. This decision was ratified almost a year later, and on 27 March 1981 an agreement was signed between the two countries.

After some contractual changes, the Italian companies became responsible for around 70% of the program and Embraer for the remaining 30%. Its remit encompassed the development and manufacturing of the wings, air scoops, horizontal stabilizers, underwing pylons ("weapon rails") and fuel tanks. Furthermore, Embraer actively participated in the whole project of landing train, navigation and attack, flight command and weapons control systems. Two flight test and one fatigue test prototypes were built and tested in Brazil.

AMX was conceived as a single engine, single-seat airplane, specializing in attack missions, with an emphasis on robustness and reliability for high exposure missions, a long range aircraft (compatible with the continental size of our country, including the capacity for in-flight refueling) incorporating advanced technology computer, navigation and attack, and electronic counter measures systems. It also included what were innovations at that time, a flight command system with an augmentation system and a HOTAS operation (Hands On Throttle And Stick) for navigation and attack. A two-seater alternative followed, targeting pilot operation conversion unit (OCU) tasks for this type of aircraft.

Compared to other fighter and attack airplanes it was less costly as well as being efficient and it also included advanced technology. It had space for only one pilot with an ejection seat. The subsonic jet was equipped with Rolls- Royce turbines and as well as being able to reach 750 km/h, it was an "invisible airplane", that it, its ECM - Electronic Counter Measure Box - sent continuous signals to confuse radars and any other type of sensing device.

The official presentation of the airplane took place in Italy in May 1985 and the first AMX prototype built in Brazil - the fourth of the program - had its rollout and first official flight in October of the same year. In 1988 the first AMX built in series flew in Italy and the first delivery to FAB [Brazilian Air Forces] took place in October 1989, who purchased a total of 54 aircraft in three batch orders.

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Page last modified: 16-09-2013 19:34:58 ZULU