Two decades after Embraer’s EMB-312 Tucano became the trainer of choice in South America, the region’s air forces are looking for replacements. The two local contenders will be showcased at FIDAE 2006 in Santiago, Chile.

Upgraded AT- 63

Upgraded AT-63 is entering service

Embaer is bringing its EMB-314 Super Tucano, and Lockheed Martin Aircraft Argentina (LMAASA) will have its AT-63 Pampa demonstrator on static display. Equipped with upgraded avionics, the AT-63 demonstrator was delivered to the Argentinian air force’s flight centre in December.

LMAASA has Argentinian government contracts to mod­ernise 12 Pampa jet trainers and manufacture 12 new aircraft – six for the air force and six designated for international sale. Two modernised aircraft have been delivered, and the first new AT-63 will roll out in May.

Deliveries of the Super Tucano to the Brazilian air force have been slowed by budget problems, Embraer says, but around 30 are now in service and the armed turboprop is deployed in the Amazon. Deliveries of 25 aircraft to Colombia begin in December. This version has expanded weapons, self-defence and communications capability, says Anastacio Katsanos, vice-president, product strategy, military market.

Embraer has teamed with Israel’s Elbit Systems, supplier of the Super Tucano’s avionics, to bid for Singapore’s private finance initiative programme to provide basic training services. The company has also responded to a request for proposals from Turkey for a 35-aircraft requirement, Katsanos says.

Venezuela’s selection of the Super Tucano has yet to yield a contract because of fears the US government may block the sale, as it did EADS Casa’s deal to supply transport aircraft. “Negotiations have not progressed because of the political situation with the USA,” Katsanos says. “Casa reached contract level. We are some steps behind, and on hold .”

Meanwhile, other South American countries are showing interest in the Super Tucano, while LAMAASA says the Argentinian air force and navy have discussed additional AT-63s, but “nothing concrete” has yet emerged.

Source: Flight International