SINGAPORE 2010: Embraer chasing large order from Asia for Super Tucanos

Singapore
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Embraer is in discussions with more than five countries in Asia Pacific with regards to buying the Embraer Super Tucano, which is both a trainer and light attack aircraft.

"This year we expect to sign something in Asia Pacific" and "we are talking to more than five countries" in the region, says Embraer executive VP defense market Orlando Neto.

He also says that if the company's sales campaign is successful, the customer it signs up will become the second-largest customer for the Super Tucano after Brazil.

Embraer has secured export orders for the Super Tucano from Latin American countries, namely: Colombia, Chile, Dominican Republic and Ecuador.

Neto says the advantage of the Super Tucano is that it can be used as a trainer for military pilots, thanks to its fourth generation avionics system, but the lower speeds achieved with the turboprop means it can also be used for surveillance.

The weapons it can carry and the fact it can land on unpaved runways also means it is unique attack aircraft, says Neto.

He says the Super Tucano is used in northern Brazil wilderness areas to suppress guerilla activity and eradicate illegal drug laboratories and trafficking.

This means the Super Tucano is popular with countries that may have a need to quell guerrilla activities, he adds.

Neto declines to name the campaigns for the Super Tucano in Asia Pacific. But Indonesia's air force chief Imam Sufaat told Indonesia's news media late last month that the air force plans to order 16 Super Tucanos to form a squadron.

He made the revelation in an effort to persuade the government to make the funds available for the aircraft which he describes as affordable.

Indonesia needs the aircraft to replace its 1960s-era North American Rockwell OV-10 Bronco aircraft which is a turboprop-driven light attack and observation aircraft.