With a flight envelope of +7G and -3.5G, the Embraer Super TUCANO protects pilots with a Kevlar-shielded cockpit, a 0-0 ejection seat, a windshield that is reinforced against bird strikes, and redundancies in the most critical systems. For its navigation and flight, it is equipped with a state-of-the-art avionics system that includes a Head-Up Display (HUD), a Hands-on Throttle and Stick (HOTAS) system, an On-Board Oxygen Generation System (OBOGS), and lighting that is compatible with the use of night vision goggles.
The Super TUCANO is equipped with a state-of-the-art control panel made up of two liquid crystal displays furnished by AEL Systems, an Elbit Systems subsiduary, that augments the pilot’s situational awareness and ushered in the information age for the Brazilian Air Force (FAB), turning the pilot into a systems operator and bringing countless other new onboard technologies, capabilities, and training opportunities, which have become the benchmark that helps FAB set standards for its F-5 and A-1 fleet modernisation programmes.
Its export version includes several improvements, such as a control panel with three multifunctional displays, and has been sold to Angola, Burkina Faso, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Indonesia, Mali, Mauritania, and the Dominican Republic. It also was selected for the Light Air Support programme to provide counterinsurgency aircraft to allied nations of the United States. For example, the US Air Force has been flying this aircraft in its 81st Fighter Squadron at Moody Air Force Base, with some of the units having already been delivered to Afghanistan, where they are being used tirelessly in combat, mainly to conduct convoy escort and close-air support missions.
Since the Super TUCANOs are wear-resistant, they are a good option for the Afghan Air Force (AAF), which undertakes close-air support operations in the desert, under extreme temperatures. Under a US-funded cooperation program, the AAF is scheduled to receive 20 A-29s by 2018. In addition to the aircraft, the programme includes training AAF crew in the US, both to maintain the aircraft as well as to fly it.
The Super TUCANO is truly a Brazilian combat aircraft, certified to carry 150 different weapon and sensor combinations suitable for conducting a wide range of missions, day and night, including light attack, close-air support, surveillance, land convoy escort and helicopter escort in C-SAR operations, as well as air interdiction and interception, while also proving to be an ideal platform for counterinsurgency. In addition, the Super TUCANO has proved to be an excellent aircraft for advanced fighter pilot instruction and training. Thanks to the state-of-the-art sensors and electronics on board and its simulated training capabilities, it is possible to train more experienced and capable pilots in world-class fighter squadrons quicker and at a lower cost.