Embraer A-29 Super Tucano for Portugal?

Embraer Super Tucano Portugal
Portugal appears to be interested in the Embraer A-29 Super Tucano. The aircraft was recently spotted at Monte Real Air Base (Archive photo, not taken in Portugal).

On November 17, 2020, an EMB-314/A-29 Super Tucano was spotted at the Monte Real Air Base, Portugal. Photos taken by a local photographer show the light trainer aircraft, registration number PT-ZTU, flying out of Base No 5.

Some media have speculated a strong interest from the Portuguese Air Force (PoAF) in the Embraer turboprop aircraft as it was left without a trainer after the retirement of the Alpha Jet in 2018.

As far as we know, the nation has not yet launched any tender for the acquisition of a new trainer aircraft, however we do not exclude that Lisbon could soon start negotiations for a dozen of them.

Earlier last year, the head of the Portuguese Air Force, General Manuel Teixeira Rolo, said the training of PoAF pilots in the United States is an interim solution. Their goal is to train them at home.

The choice of the Super Tucano could be favored by the presence in the country of the OMGA company which in 2005 was acquired by Embraer to be used as the main MRO (Maintenance Services Center) for its systems in service in NATO countries, Super Tucano included. In addition, Lisbon's preference for Embraer platforms is also confirmed by last year's order for five C-390 transport aircraft.

Previously, the PoAF was more geared towards a jet rather than a turpoprop. It was considering having the Leonardo M-346 purchased by a local contractor and then rented on a "power by the hour" contract. However, both aircraft could be introduced. PoAF may need both types to cover all training phases.

Written by Matteo Sanzani

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