Embraer is offering to develop and deliver an upgraded version of the AMX within 24 months to meet Venezuela's requirement for an advanced trainer/tactical support aircraft. The AMX-T is one of eight types being evaluated for the 24-aircraft requirement. Venezuela is to announce its choice by the end of May.

The country is the first potential customer to emerge for the upgraded AMX being studied by partners Alenia and Embraer. Essentially the same aircraft is being offered by Alenia in South Africa, while Embraer is talking to the Brazilian air force about upgrading its existing AMXs as well as building new aircraft.

The Brazilian manufacturer believes it can meet the Venezuelan timescale by drawing on development of the ALX armed version of its Super Tucano turboprop trainer for the Brazilian air force. The weapon system Elbit is supplying for the ALX would be used in the upgraded AMX, says Embraer.

If it wins the Venezuelan order, the manufacturer plans to use the ALX avionics rig for integration work, while the first production AMX-T would be used for development flight testing.

AMX production for the Brazilian air force continues at Embraer, although an expected contract for a fourth batch has yet to materialise. The company is now proposing to build the upgraded aircraft if a fourth batch is ordered, as well as offering the two-seat AMX-T to meet a Brazilian air force requirement for lead-in fighter trainers.

Embraer says that improvements have been identified to reduce AMX acquisition and operating costs, adding that it has been told by Venezuela that the AMX-T is in the middle of the price range of the eight competitors, which include the British Aerospace Hawk, the MAPO MiG-AT and the Yakovlev Yak-130.

The upgraded AMX will retain the Rolls-Royce Spey turbofan, although studies are under way into longer-term re-engineing of the aircraft, Embraer says.

Source: Flight International