AT-29/EMB 314 ALX Super Tucano - Program
EMB-312H Super Tucano was an evolution of EMB-312 aircraft with an stretched fuselage developed by Embraer. It was powered by more powerful Pratt & Whitney Canada PT-6A-68 engine rated at 1,250-shp. Super Tucano was the aircraft defeated by Raytheon's T-6 during JPATS competition. ALX (Light Attack Aircraft) is a further evolution of Super Tucano featuring enhanced performance, zero-zero ejection seats, PT-6A-68/3 engine rated at 1,600-shp and onboard oxygen generation system (OBOGS).
The Super Tucano made its debut during times of economic constraint when avionics and armament retirements were placing increased demands on training standards. The previous decade brought about dramatic changes in military aviation. Breakthroughs in avionics, sensors and armament systems have greatly influenced and rationalized the employment of a wide range of fighter, patrol and reconnaissance aircraft platforms, all of which have a significant effect on pilot training. Today's new operating scenarios demand superior skills from airmen which were unimaginable even ten years ago. Then, the aircraft and the training syllabus together simply produced a qualified pilot who was molded to fit operational realities. In these challenging times, the instruction cycle of future military pilots must now ensure an extremely fluid transition to operational units.
The end of the cold war gave rise to new threats, which were previously dormant and which could not always be satisfactorily dealt with through high-performance vectors. This was particularly true in regard to territories with extensive and relatively porous borders. Embraer kept these aspects in mind in the development of a radically new aircraft, ideally suited to deal with current and future military fight training requirements and also deployable in scenarios that do not fit high-performance combat aircraft. Named the Super Tucano, this new multi-purpose military turboprop aircraft embodies features guaranteed to make it as legendary as its predecessor, the Tucano, a favorite of so many air forces throughout the world.
The EMB-314 Super Tucano is an enhanced version, with faster speed and higher altitude, of the EMB-312 Tucano trainer aircraft which is operational in the Air Forces of 17 countries. The prototype of the Super Tucano first flew in 1992. Both Tucano and Super Tucano have been developed and built by Embraer of Brazil.
In 1995, Embraer was awarded a contract to develop a variant of the Super Tucano, known as the ALX or light attack aircraft, for the Brazilian Air Force (FAB), optimised for the environmental conditions of the Brazilian Amazon. The ALX is capable of operating day and night missions from remote bases and unpaved runways with minimal ground support. The first production aircraft was completed in 1999. In August 2001, the Brazilian Air Force awarded Embraer a contract for 76 Super Tucano / ALX aircraft with options for a further 23. A total of 51 of these aircraft are two seater versions, designated AT-29, which are stationed at the Natal Air Force Base and replace the AT-26 Xavante advanced jet trainers which were approaching the end of their operational lives. The remaining 25 aircraft were the single seat A-29 ALX version. One of the main missions of the aircraft is border patrol under the sistema de vigilancia da Amazonia (SIVAM) program.
The first aircraft was delivered in December 2003. By September 2007, 50 aircraft had entered service. Final delivery of the aircraft was scheduled for 2009. The main missions of the aircraft, in addition to basic and advanced pilot training, are border patrol and counter-insurgency operations. The flight envelope of the aircraft is +7g and -3.5g. The aircraft's small size, small visual and radar signatures, together with high speed and agility give the aircraft high survivability. Additional survivability features include armor protection and critical systems redundancy.
Embraer's Super Tucano/ALX has five external underwing and fuselage stations carrying weaponry and fuel tanks. The armament options include unguided rockets, gun pods, air-to-air missiles, free fall bombs and smart munitions. Its design flexibility allows operations from unprepared runways, day or night. Single-seat A-29 Super Tucano designation refers to light attack variant while twin-seat AT-29 Super Tucano refers to the variant intended for both training and light attack roles.
EMB-312H Super Tucano and multi-purpose ALX are different aircraft but since 2003 Super Tucano designation applies to ALX. Actually Super Tucano is the ALX designation for the export market. Single-engine Super Tucano/ALX suits training and light attack roles combining fourth generation avionics and armament systems while yielding jet-like performance. In addition to flight training, Super Tucano/ALX also offers in-flight virtual training for armaments and sensors.
Embraer is marketing Super Tucano/ALX on the international market to fill the gap of many low budget Air Forces which can not afford expensive jet aircraft. The aircraft is available for current Tucano operators to boost their fleets capabilities. To date, Super Tucano/ALX has been ordered by the Brazilian Air Force and the Dominican Republic. In August 2001 Brazil signed for 76 ALX Super Tucano aircraft plus 23 options with the first delivered in December 2003. Dominican Republic ordered 10 Super Tucanos in August 2001.
Embraer and the Government of Colombia on behalf of its Air Force signed a $235 million contract for the purchase of 25 Super Tucano aircraft on December 7, 2005. The Colombian Air Force was operating 14 Tucano basic training aircraft acquired in the 1990s. The newest Super Tucano aircraft were ordered to conduct internal and border security missions.
On 04 September 2018 Sierra Nevada Corp., Centennial, Colorado, was awarded a ceiling $1,808,000,000 indefinite-delivery / indefinite quantity contract for potential procurement, sustainment, modifications, ferry, and related equipment for the A-29. Work will be performed at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia; and Kabul, Kandahar, and Mazari Sharif Air Bases, Afghanistan. Work is expected to be completed by Dec. 31, 2024. This contract involves foreign military sales to Afghanistan. This award is the result of a sole-source acquisition. This contract is funded by appropriated Afghanistan Security Forces funds. Funds in the amount of $115,478 are being obligated at the time of award on delivery order 0001 for a site survey in Afghanistan. The contracting activity is the US Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio (FA8637-18-D-6003). The Defense Department projected the Afghan Air Force would receive 25 A-29s in total.
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