With more than 200 aircraft delivered to 13 air forces, the Embraer Super Tucano multi-mission light intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR)/attack and advanced training platform has compiled more than 35,000 combat hours during its service in theatre in South America and Afghanistan.
Known as the A-29 in Brazilian service, the aircraft has been extensively used in the Amazon region in the pursuit of drug trafficking aircraft, and has forced many down, including the use of guns to fire warning shots. Neighbouring Colombia also employs the Super Tucano on similar duties.
In the meantime, 26 aircraft have been procured via US Air Force channels for supply to air arms involved in anti-terrorist and counter-insurgency duties. Twenty of them were acquired for Afghanistan, and eight are now flying combat operations in the country, which began last April.
Twelve more Afghan aircraft are at Moody AFB, Georgia, for training, but are destined to ultimately be delivered to the Afghan air force.
Another six have been procured for the Lebanese air force, with first deliveries imminent.
Embraer (Stand 07-B45) and US partner Sierra Nevada Corporation are in serious discussions with around 10 nations concerning sales, and some announcements are expected in the coming months.
Some of these discussions are being conducted within the US Foreign Military Sales framework, for which Sierra Nevada is the prime contractor and conduit. Assembly of these aircraft is undertaken at a facility in Jacksonville, Florida.
For its military roles the Super Tucano offers five hardpoints – two under each wing and one on the centreline. The aircraft also has a 0.5in machine gun with 250 rounds embedded in each wing, providing a gun capability without taking up a hardpoint. An electro-optical turret for ISR and weapons designation can be mounted under the fuselage forward of the centreline pylon.