Brazil’s Embraer Defense & Security has delivered all six A-29B Super Tucano turboprop aircraft ordered by the Philippine Air Force (PAF), the company announced on 14 October.
The Super Tucanos will be deployed for close air support, advanced training, light attack, surveillance, air-to-air interception, and counter-insurgency missions, and are part of PAF’s modernisation plan, the company stated.
The aircraft – which will be operated and maintained by the PAF’s 15th Strike Wing and supplement the service’s Boeing (Rockwell) OV-10 Bronco ground-attack aircraft – were commissioned in a turnover and blessing ceremony held at Clark Air Base in Angeles City on 13 October. The event was presided by Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.
“The [PAF] takes pride in welcoming the six A-29B Super Tucano from Embraer Defense & Security into the blue fold of our skies as part of our fleet. The addition of these close air support aircraft is a great leap in our air power capability as we soar together in our flight to a more capable and credible Air Force for the nation and its people,” Lieutenant General Allen T. Paredes, Commanding General of the PAF.
The A-29 Super Tucano is a durable, versatile and powerful turboprop aircraft capable of operating from unimproved runways and carrying out a wide range of missions. The type has been selected by 15 air forces worldwide to date.
The two-seat A-29B Super Tucano is equipped with electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) sensors, a laser designator, and secure radio and datalink communications. It can carry a range of ordnance, including two wing-mounted12.7 mm heavy machine guns, unguided and laser-guided bombs, air-to-air missiles, as well as other advanced types of weaponry depending on customer requirements.
“It is an honour to deliver these six A-29 Super Tucanos to The Philippine Air Force,” said Jackson Schneider, President and CEO of Embraer Defense & Security. “Delivering an aircraft amidst a global pandemic is challenging, but we were committed to go the extra mile every step of the way to have the aircraft in the hands of PAF to fulfil their security missions.”
Under the US$102 million deal, Embraer Defense & Security will now provide two months of training for selected PAF pilots.
Secretary Lorenzana has also hinted at the possibility of the PAF acquiring six more aircraft.
“I was discussing with [Lieutenant General Paredes] a while ago [that] having six Super Tucano is good but another six more would be better,” he told the government’s official news agency PNA at the ceremony.
by Jr Ng