The Embraer EMB 314 Super Tucano, also named ALX or A-29 is a turboprop aircraft designed for light attack, counter insurgency (COIN), close air support, aerial reconnaissance missions in low threat environments, as well as providing pilot training. Designed to operate in high temperature and humidity conditions in extremely rugged terrain, the Super Tucano is highly maneuverable, has a low heat signature, incorporates 4th generation avionics and weapons system to deliver precision guided munitions.
During the mid-1980s Embraer was working on the Short Tucano alongside a new version designed EMB-312G1, carrying the same Garrett engine. The EMB-312G1 prototype flew for the first time in July 1986.
A proof-of-concept prototype, the PT-ZTW flew for the first time in September 1991, the aircraft features a 1.37-meter (4.49-ft) fuselage extension with the addition of sections before and after of the cockpit to restore its center of gravity and stability, a strengthened airframe, cockpit pressurization and stretched nose to house the more powerful PT6A-67R (1,424 Shp) engine. Two new prototypes with the PT6A-68A (1,250 Shp) engine were built in 1993. The second prototype flew for the first time in May 1993 and the third prototype flew in October 1993.
The request for a light attack aircraft was part of the Brazilian government’s SIVAM (Amazon Surveillance System) Project. This aircraft would fly with the R-99A and R-99B aircraft then in service and be used to intercept illegal aircraft flights and patrol Brazil’s borders. The ALX Project was then created by the Brazilian Air Force, which was also in need of a military trainer to replace the Embraer EMB 326GB Xavante. The new aircraft was to be suited to the Amazon region (high temperature, moisture, and precipitation; low threat). The ALX was then specified as a turboprop engine aircraft with a long range and autonomy, able to operate in night and day, in any meteorological conditions, and able to land on short airfields lacking infrastructure.
Embraer EMB 326GB Xavante
Embraer EMB 326GB Xavante
In August 1995, the Brazilian Ministry of Aeronautics awarded Embraer a $50 million contract for ALX development. Two EMB-312H were updated to serve as ALX prototypes. These made their initial flights in their new configuration in 1996 and 1997, respectively. The initial flight of a production-configured ALX, further modified from one of the prototypes, occurred in 2 June 1999. The second prototype brought up to two-seater configuration and performing its first flight on 22 October 1999. The changes had been so considerable that the type was given a new designation, the “EMB-314 Super Tucano”. The total cost of the aircraft development was quoted to be between US$200 million and US$300 million
- Single-seater for attack and armed reconnaissance (on interdiction tasks), attack and cover (on close air support tasks), able to intercept and destroy low performance aircraft. Incorporates an additional fuel tank (+ 400 liters).
- Twin-seater for the same tasks as the single seat version, also used in training and advanced aerial control (on monitoring tasks).
- Afghan Air Force – 20 aircraft ordered. First aircraft to be delivered in 2015, and the last in 2019. The first A-29 Super Tucano of the Pentagon’s Light Air Support (LAS) program, destined for the Afghan Air Force, has been delivered to the US Air Force in Jacksonville, Florida by the Sierra Nevada Corporation and Embraer in September 2014. The first eight Afghan airmen are trained in the USA to form a new Afghan fighter squadron.
- National Air Force of Angola –6 aircraft
- Brazilian Air Force – 99 aircraft (33 A-29A & 66 A-29B). At least 4 aircraft lost.
- First Squadron of the Third Aviation Group (1º/3º GAv) “Esquadrão Escorpião” (Scorpion Squadron)
- Second Squadron of the Third Aviation Group (2º/3º GAv) “Esquadrão Grifo” (Griffon Squadron)
- Third Squadron of the Third Aviation Group (3º/3º GAv) “Esquadrão Flecha” (Arrow Squadron)
- Second Squadron of the Fifth Aviation Group (2º/5º GAv) “Esquadrão Joker” (Joker Squadron)
- Smoke Squadron (EDA)
- Air Force of Burkina Faso – 3 A-29B aircraft.
- Chilean Air Force – 12 aircraft.
- Grupo de Aviacion N°1
- Colombian Air Force – 25 aircraft, introduced between 2006 and 2008.
At least one aircraft crashed, claimed shot down by FARC.
- 211 Combat Squadron “Grifos” of the Twenty-first Combat Group
- 312 Combat Squadron “Drakos” of the Therty-first Combat Group
- 611 Combat Squadron of the Sixty-first Combat Group
- Dominican Air Force – 8 aircraft
- Ecuadorian Air Force – 18 aircraft, all delivered by 2011.
- Escuadrón de Combate 2313 “Halcones”
- Escuadrón de Combate 2311 “Dragones”
- Ghana Air Force – 5 aircraft ordered in 2015. The total value of the contract was $88million with loan from BNDS, which also includes logistics support and a training system for pilots and mechanics in Ghana. The first aircraft is expected to arrive on the second half of 2016, and it will be used as advanced training, border surveillance and internal security missions.
- Honduran Air Force – 2 aircraft ordered in 2014.
- Indonesian Air Force – 8 aircraft, the first four aircraft were delivered as of August 2012., the delivery of the second batch of four aircraft was delayed till September 2014. A total of 16 were ordered in 2011 with deliveries to take place in 2012, 2014 and 2015. In March 2012, Indonesian Ministry of Defense informed the possibility of a future joint production, further modernization and sales in the Asia-Pacific region.
- Air Squadron 21 “Lanud Abdul Rachman Saleh”
- Lebanese Air Force – 6 A-29s to be delivered in 2018.
- Mali Air Force – 6 A-29 on order. Defence Minister of Mali expressed interest in acquiring six aircraft Super Tucano Brazilian during his meeting with Brazilian Defence Minister in Brasilia, followed by a visit to Embraer`s assembly plant.
- Mozambique Air Force – 3 A-29 Super Tucano advanced trainer and light attack aircraft financed with a mid-term to long-term loan by Brazil, besides a donation of three ex-Brazilian Air Force Embraer EMB-312 Tucano trainer aircraft to Mozambique.
- Mauritanian Air Force – received two aircraft as of December 2012, one more aircraft on order. On July 2011, it was mentioned that it was considering the acquisition of Super Tucano aircraft. Negotiations for the acquisitions of Super Tucanos started in December 2011. On 28 March 2012 at Chile’s FIDAE defense and air show, Embraer announced sales of undisclosed numbers of aircraft to Mauritania. On 19 October 2012, Embraer deliveried the first EMB-314, fitted with a FLIR Safire III infrared turret for border surveillance operations.
- Senegalese Air Force – Three aircraft on order. In September 2012 it was informed that the country was in aprocurement process for acquisition of the type. In April 2013, the Brazilian minister of Defence disclosed that Senegal is the 4th African nation to order the Super Tucano, in the following day Embraer confirmed the order.
- EP Aviation – part of Academi (formerly Blackwater) – at least one twin-seater variant for pilot training (delivered in February 2008), possible further orders for counter-insurgency role.
- United States Navy leased an aircraft for testing, as part of the Imminent Fury program.
Specifications (EMB 314 Super Tucano)
Front seatRear seat
- Crew: Pilot plus one navigator/student in tandem on Martin Baker Mk 10 LCX zero-zero ejection seats
- Payload: 1,500 kg (3,307 lb)
- Length: 11.38 m (37 ft 4 in)
- Wingspan: 11.14 m (36 ft 6.5 in)
- Height: 3.97 m (13 ft 0.25 in)
- Wing area: 19.4 m² (208.8 sq ft)
- Empty weight: 3,200 kg (7,055 lb)
- Max. takeoff weight: 5,400 kg (11,905 lb)
- Powerplant: 1 Hartzell 5-blade constant speed, fully feathering, reversible-pitch × Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-68C turboprop, 1,196 kW (1,600 shp)
Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-68C turboprop
Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-68C turboprop, 1,196 kW (1,600 shp)
- Maximum speed: 590 km/h (319 knots, 367 mph)
- Cruise speed: 520 km/h (281 knots, 323 mph)
- Stall speed: 148 km/h (80 knots, 92 mph)
- g-limit: +7/-3.5 g)
- Range: 720 nmi (827 mi, 1,330 km)
- Combat radius: 550 km (300 nmi, 342 mi) (hi-lo-hi profile, 1,500 kg (3,300 lb) of external stores)
- Ferry range: 1,541 nmi (1,774 mi, 2,855 km)
- Endurance: 8hrs 24mins
- Service ceiling: 10,668 m (35,000 ft)
- Rate of climb: 24 m/s (1600 fpm)
- Guns: Internal: (2×) 12.7 mm (0.50 in) 950 rounds per minute FN Herstal M3P machine guns, one in each wing.
- Hardpoints: 5 (two under each wing and one under fuselage centreline) with a capacity of 1,550 kg (3,300 lb)
- (4x) pods 70 mm (2.75 in) LM-70/19(SBAT-70)
- (4x) pods 70 mm (2.75 in) LAU-68A/G
- General-purpose bombs:
- Incendiary bombs:
- Cluster bombs:
- Precision-guided bombs:
Star SAFIRE II
FN Herstal M3P 12,7 mm (.50 in) machine gun
Each wing can be loaded with 200 rounds for the FN Herstal M3P 12,7 mm (.50 in) machine gun which has a firing rate of up to 950 rounds per minute.
2 x 12.7 mm (0.50 in) FN Herstal HMP for M3P machine gun
2 x 12.7 mm (0.50 in) FN Herstal HMP for M3P machine gun or 1 20 mm (0.79 in) 650 rounds per minute GIAT M20A1 cannon below the fuselage.
Dillon Aero M134 Minigun
Up to 4 7.62 mm (0.30 in) 3,000 rounds per minute Dillon Aero M134 Minigun (under development) under wings
(4x) pods 70 mm rocket pods
(4x) pods 70 mm (2.75 in) LM-70/19(SBAT-70)
SBAT-70 – The rockets can be launched from airborne multiple tube launchers that are compatible with American (NATO) airborne 70 mm standard rockets may be utilised with a variety of aircraft. The AVIBRAS AV-LM 70-SF airborne multiple launchers are reusable with 7 or 19 tubes.
These rockets can also be used for surface-to-surface applications using the LM-12/36 rocket launcher.
The AV-SF-70 Skyfire rocket system includes different types of warheads for several tactical applications such as the high-explosive anti-personal/anti-material (HE) warhead, the hollow charge anti-armour/anti-personal (AC/AP) warhead, the anti-personnel flechette (F) warhead, incendiary/smoke white phosphorous (FB) warhead and the anti-runway/anti-material PE warhead.
In addition, the system has two types of training warhead, one inert and the other for impact signalling.
The AV-SF-70 Skyfire rockets can be powered by three models of rocket motors, AV-SF-70 M8, AV-SF-70 M9 and AV-SF-70 M10 with an effective air-to-ground range of up to 4,000 m, 4,700 m and 6,000 m respectively. Surface-to-surface ranges are up to 10.5 km, 10.5 km and 12 km.
(4x) pods 70 mm rocket pods
(4x) pods 70 mm (2.75 in) LAU-68A/G
The MAA-1 Piranha is a supersonic, short-range air-to-air missile relying on infrared passive guidance which seeks the target’s heat emissions coming primarily from the engine/s. The infrared sensor uses two colors to discriminate countermeasures from the real target and was supplied by South Africa’s Kentron (Denel Group). The missile outstanding maneuverability allows it to perform at 50g. The Piranha performs as a ‘launch and forget’ missile, that means once launched the missile doesn’t require input data coming the aircraft’s sensors to hit its target, and a laser fuze is responsible for detonating the warhead. Externally, it is very similar to Rafael’s Python 3 air-to-air missile and the aerodynamic configuration is near the same. Source deagel.com
The Python-4 fourth generation A/A missile, in operational use in the Israeli Air Force , features a novel “no escape volume” performance with a unique aerodynamic configuration for superior agility. The state-of-the-art, high performance seeker incorporates an advanced IRCM & background rejection capabilities. The missile includes a highly effective fragmentation warhead. Python 4 is a very nimble “fire and forget” missile with an improved maneuvering capability. It has an advanced homing head with a lateral “squint” capability which allows it to receive signals from the line of vision of the pilot who sees the enemy plane through a special (Elbit-developed) helmet. The missile receives these signals and hits the enemy plane without requiring the pilot to steer his aircraft at the enemy plane. The Python 4 can be launched at a range of over 15 km, its warhead is over 11 kg, and its electromagnetic proximity fuze is one of the best in the world. Source fas.org
AGM-65 Maverick is an air-to-ground tactical missile (AGM) designed for close air support
Delilah AL icruise missile
Delilah AL is a cruise missile developed in Israel by Israel Military Industries (IMI). The missile is designed to target moving and re-locatable targets with a CEP of 1 metre
BLG-252 cluster bomb
BLG-252 cluster bomb
Comparison between AT-6 and A-29 Super Tucano