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Brazil chooses Elbit for AL-X avionics

Elbit has been selected to supply the mission avionics for Brazil's AL-X light-attack aircraft now under development.

The Israeli company beat off competition from France's Sextant Avionique and GEC-Marconi of the UK for the contract, which is now being negotiated, according to engineering director Luis Carlos Affonso.

Embraer received a Brazilian air force contract in 1995 to develop the AL-X variant of the EMB-314 Super Tucano Turboprop trainer in two versions: the single seat A-29 and two-seat A-29 light-attack/ advanced-trainer aircraft.

Elbit will supply equipment including the mission computer, the head-up and head-down displays and navigation and stores-management systems. Affonso says that AlliedSignal and Rockwell-Collins have been shortlisted to provide commercial avionics for the AL-X.

Embraer has built two AL-X prototypes, which are being used to clear the external-stores configurations planned for the aircraft, and which will have five hardpoints. Both aircraft will be equipped with Elbit mission avionics for flight testing to begin in late 1997 or early in 1998.

The Israeli company has guaranteed the Brazilian air force access to the avionics-software source codes, a requirement which discouraged US contractors from bidding for the contract, Affonso believes.

Embraer's decision in favour of Elbit places the Israeli company in a strong position to win the Brazilian air force Northrop F-5 avionics-upgrade competition, which the manufacturer, as local prime contractor, expects to conduct in 1997.

Affonso says that Embraer expects to receive a production contract for 100 AL-Xs in 1997, leading to first deliveries of the aircraft in 1998. The AL-Xs will be used for border patrol and advanced training, replacing Aermacchi MB-326 jet trainers built under licence by Embraer.

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