In the early 2000s, Brazil’s Embraer Defense introduced the EMB-314 Super Tucano domestic attack aircraft, also known as the ALX or A-29
Super Tucano is the next evolution of EMB 312 Tucano. The first flight of the EMB 314 Super Tucano prototype took place in 1999, since 2003, the aircraft has been in service with the Brazilian Air Force and is being actively exported. The cost of one aircraft is estimated at 9-14 million dollars. The price is one of the main advantages of the Brazilian light attack aircraft. One aircraft costs much less than helicopters used for the same purpose.
Embraer EMB 314 Super Tucano is made according to the normal aerodynamic configuration, it is a low-wing aircraft with a straight wing. The fuselage of a semi-monocoque aircraft. Chassis – tricycle, each landing gear has one wheel. It has a length of 11.38m, a wingspan of 11.14m, a height of 3.97m, an empty weight of 3.2 tons, and a maximum take-off weight of 5.4 tons.
In terms of performance, the Super Tucano is powered by a Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-68C turboprop engine, with 1,604 hp, driving a 5-bladed Hartzell propeller. The aircraft can reach a top speed of 590 km/h, cruising speed of 530 km/h, range of 1,330 km, service ceiling of 10,668m, and rate of climb of 16.4 m/s.
Super Tucano is equipped with 5 weapon hardpoints, four on the wings and one on the centerline. Standard armament options include a 20mm cannon pod mounted under the fuselage and 2 x 12.7mm FN Herstal M3P heavy machine guns in the wings, with 200 rounds each. Optional and mission-specific ordnance can include 4 x 70mm rocket launcher pods for explosive air-to-surface strikes, conventional bombs and guided smart bombs. The Super Tucano can be armed with 2 x Sidewinder, MAA-1 Piranha or Python 3/4 short-range air-to-air missiles to counter the threat posed by low-flying aircraft.
The aircraft can be used in conditions of high humidity and ambient air temperature; it has very good take-off and landing characteristics, which makes it possible to use it effectively even from short runways. The attack cockpit is protected by Kevlar armor, which provides protection against rifle-rifle armor-piercing bullets – 7,62 mm from 300 meters. Also, according to the manufacturer, the cockpit can withstand a collision with a bird at a speed of 500 km/h.
Since 2003, Brazil has already produced more than 240 of such attack aircraft that are used by the 18 Air Force states, while the 99 are in service with the Brazilian Air Force. In addition to its manufacture in Brazil, Embraer has set up a production line in the United States in conjunction with Sierra Nevada Corporation for the manufacture of A-29s to export customers.
Most recently, Nigeria received its first six light attack aircraft from the United States, four years after the United States agreed to sell the West African country light attack aircraft to fight insurgents. The United States under President Donald Trump agreed to sell 12 A-29s to Nigeria in 2017. The aircraft order, including thousands of bombs, rockets and a servicing agreement, came at a cost of $593 million. The A-29 Super Tucano will be a great addition in combat training and air support operations, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, , counterinsurgency and irregular warfare scenarios.