Seven South American countries have pledged to develop and fly a new basic trainer by 2015 to replace ageing fleets of aircraft such as the Brazilian Neiva T-25 Universal.

The agreement was announced on 9 April by the defence ministers of Argentina and Brazil, and also includes participation from Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Uruguay and Venezuela.

The project, named Unasur 1 - an adaptation of the acronym for the Union of South American Nations - was unveiled with a long list of specifications, but few details about who will be responsible for designing and building the aircraft.

 Unasur background

Stephen Trimble/Tim Bicheno-Brown/Flightglobal

The manufacturer must be a company other than Embraer, however. The manufacturer designed the T-26 Tucano trainer for the Brazilian military, but the T-25 replacement is a step below the Tucano in capability and outside the company's interests.

The Unasur 1 is listed with a 1,590kg (3,505lb) maximum take-off weight, a 210kt (388km/h) performance in level flight, and a glass cockpit. It will feature a piston engine for primary training, and a turbine engine for basic and primary training.

Source: Flight International