The Portuguese Air Force is reportedly quietly preparing the acquisition of the Brazilian Embraer EMB-314 Super Tucano, to strengthen its participation in UN operations
Super Tucano for FAP?
According to several concordant sources, the FAP (Força Aérea Portuguesa) is about to buy EMB 314 Super-Tucano from the Brazilian manufacturer Embraer. Indeed, this turboprop is a candidate to replace the Alphajet which was withdrawn from service in 2018. The AFP has been looking for an aircraft capable of training its future pilots, but also of supporting its military operations for the United Nations. If the sale is finalised, Portugal would become the first European and NATO operator of the Super Tucano.
This acquisition would be due not only to the operational qualities of the aircraft, but also to the political-industrial aspects that bind Portugal to Brazil. Indeed, the Super Tucano has performed several official demonstrations in recent years, which have impressed the AFP staff. But above all, its manufacturer Embraer is the majority shareholder of the Portuguese aerospace group OGMA, which specialises in MCO and has a factory in Évora dedicated to the production of aerostructures for the C-390 Millenium. Lisbon bought five of these aircraft at the expense of the A400M. Finally, beyond the historical links between these two nations, Portugal has always supported the rise of Embraer, which employs many Portuguese engineers.
The legitimate successor to the EMB 312 Tucano, the EMB 314 Super Tucano is a single or two-seat turboprop specialising in COIN (COntre-INsurrection) operations. Heavily armed, it is equipped with two 12.7mm M3P machine guns in its wings, and 5 carry points that allow it to carry 1500 kilos of payloads (air-to-air missiles, rockets, guided bombs, additional tanks). A modern aircraft, it has a HUD, a FLIR AN/AAQ-22 SAFIRE under the fuselage, a HOTAS joystick, a TCAS (Traffic Collision Avoidance Systems) navigation system, a GPS, two 6X8 multifunction screens and Martin-Baker Mark 10 LCX zero-zero ejection seats. Its cockpit is JVN (night vision goggles) compatible and has an OBOGS system. Its airframe can withstand load factors of between 7G and -3.5G. Designed to operate in difficult conditions, the Super Tucano is an ideal aircraft for CAS (Close Air Support) and anti-guerrilla warfare. Since its launch, more than 220 have been ordered by 16 different nations, and it is a direct competitor to the AT6-E Wolwerine from the American Textron group.
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