Embraer has begun upgrading the second and final batch of Northrop F-5E/F Tiger II fighter aircraft for the Brazilian Air Force (Forca Aerea Brasileira - FAB) at its Gavião Peixoto facility near Sao Paolo, officials told IHS Jane's on 14 March.
Speaking during a tour of the facility, the officials (who requested not to be directly attributed) said work to bring the 11 ex-Royal Jordanian Air Force (RJAF) aircraft (eight single-seat F-5E and three twin-seat F-5F) up to F-5EM/FM Brazilian standard had begun in October 2012.
Three aircraft are currently being refurbished at Gavião Peixoto, with the remaining eight set to follow through to 2016. According to the officials, it takes approximately 11 months for each aircraft to go through the modernisation process.
Once upgraded, these 11 former RJAF aircraft will join the first batch of 46 F-5E/F platforms, which have already gone through the process and been delivered back to the FAB.
The F-5M (Modernised) upgrade, formerly referred to as the F-5BR (Brazil) standard, began in 2001 with the aim of providing the ageing F-5s an additional service life of around 15 to 20 years.
As well as refurbishing the airframe, the upgrade comprises equipping the F-5 with enhanced avionics and weaponry.
Upgraded systems comprise a new 'glass' cockpit that features colour multifunctional display units (MFDs) with a hands-on throttle and stick (HOTAS) configuration, and a fully night vision goggle (NVG) compatible helmet mounted display (HMD) system all driven by an Elbit Systems avionics suite. In addition, two new flight computers, an integrated INS/GPS navigation system, radar warning receivers, an on-board oxygen generation system, an improved fuel management system, and encrypted radio communications are included.
A fixed in-flight refuelling probe is to be fitted, along with an upgraded Fiar Grifo-F multi-mode air-to-air search and tracking radar (at the expense of one of the two nose-mounted cannons), and the FAB's full arsenal of weaponry will also be integrated for greater commonality and interoperability.