The US State Department has approved a possible sale of six A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircraft to Lebanon, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) in Washington announced on 9 June. The aircraft would support Lebanon in holding off Islamic State (IS) at the eastern border with Syria.
The proposed sale includes associated equipment, parts and logistical support for an estimated cost of 462 million USD. According to the DCSA, the sale of the Super Tucanos ‘will provide Lebanon with a much needed Close Air Support (CAS) platform to meet present and future challenges posed by internal and border security threats’.
The Super Tucano was originally developed by Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer. Prime contractor in the US is Sierra Nevada Corporation, which builds the type in Jacksonville, Florida. Super Tucanos are currently being built for the Afghan Air Force. Other contractors are BAE Systems and Pratt & Whitney.
Ghana is currently upgrading its military capacity. The Air Force can expect a fair number of new aircraft soon, according to John Dramani Mahama, President of Ghana and the Commander-in-Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF).
Mr. Dramani Mahami made his statements while visiting Burma Camp in Accra earlier in February 2015. The equipping drive which commenced in 2009 under the Late President John Mills will see GAF receive a set of new aircrafts – including four new Harbin Z-9 helicopters and five new Embraer A-29 Super Tucano training and light attack aircraft, a statement reads.
“We must prepare and train for any eventuality – hostage situations, bombings, and attacks on shopping malls among others,” the Ghana president said. He sees the new aircraft as a “progressive effort to upgrade the GAF into a vibrant force in the sub region”.
Until the arrival of the Super Tucanos the Ghana Air Force’s only fixed-wing attack aircraft are four Hongdu K-8 Karakorums.
Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) and Embraer Defense & Security on Thursday 25 September 2014 presented the first US-built A-29 Super Tucano light air support aircraft in a roll-out ceremony with the US Air Force and government officials. The aircraft is the first of 20 that are being delivered to the USAF for its Light Air Support (LAS) program to support stability in Afghanistan. On Friday 26 September, it was flown to Moody Air Force Base, Georgia, where training will be done.
In February 2013, the US Air Force awarded the LAS contract to SNC to supply 20 Embraer A-29 Super Tucano aircraft as well as ground training devices, pilot and maintenance training and logistic support. The aircraft will be used to provide light air support, reconnaissance and training capabilities to the Afghanistan military. In March 2013, Embraer opened a facility in Jacksonville, Florida, to produce the LAS aircraft and to date has hired 72 employees. The facility in Jacksonville performs pre-equipping, mechanical assembly, structural assembly, systems installation and testing, and flight testing of A-29 aircraft.
The Super Tucano is a light air support turboprop aircraft with advanced training capabilities currently used by nine air forces in Africa, Asia Pacific and Latin America. After more than ten years in action, the Super Tucano has gained an excellent performance record: over 230,000 flight hours and 31,000 combat hours. Embraer has received more than 210 firm orders and has delivered more than 170 aircraft.
The Ecuadorian Air Force (Fuerza Aérea Ecuatoriana) received the first of three new Airbus (EADS / CASA) C295Ms on 7 August 2014. The plane was escorted by two of the FAE’s Super Tucano light attack aircraft on its way in to Eloy Alfaro de Manta Airbase.
The plances replace the Avro (Hawker Siddeley) HS748 with No. 1112 Squadron, after the HS748 has served the Latin American country for more than 40 years. With the new C295M (FAE-1030) arriving, one of the HS748s discharged of its duties shortly after the arrival ceremony.
It’s funny how certain things go by largely unnoticed by major news networks who are otherwise quick to pick up on things. Take for example Cruzex 2013, the multinational exercise now taking place in the skies over Brazil. Taking part in this military exercise are the air forces of Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Uruguay and last but not least … Venezuela and the United States, who until recently weren’t on very friendly terms with each other. AIRheads↑Fly guest photographer Ralph Blok went on a crusade to Natal Air Force Base in Brazil to see how things were working out.
Cruzex stands for Cruzeiro do Sul Exercise, an exercise that aims to train aircrews in modern war situation. The 2013 edition is actually the seventh edition of this South American multinational exercise. Main operating bases are Natal in Brazil, and Recife which is situated south of Natal. A total of 2000 crew and other personnel are involved, bringing along 86 aircraft, ranging from Chilean and US F-16s to exotic and rare A-37 Dragonfly and – even more rare! – FMA IA 58 Pucara aircraft from Uruguay.
Cruzex 2013 started on November 4 and will end November 15. Missed it? Simply look below and remember; there’s always next time.
A lot of thanks to Ralph Blok for sharing his pictures here at AIRheads↑Fly. More of his photographic work can be seen here.