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.

However, the nation has not yet launched any tender for the acquisition of a new trainer and the presence of the A-29 in Portugal is not necessarily linked to an upcoming contract with Embraer.

The Super Tucano with code PT-ZTU is usually used by the Brazilian aerospace company to introduce the aircraft to potential customers. In 2019 it was spotted during air shows held in Messiso, the UK, France and the United Arab Emirates.

However, Lisbon may soon consider buying or leasing a trainer aircraft. Earlier last year the Chief of the Portuguese Air Force, Gen. Manuel Teixeira Rolo, said training their pilots in the United States is an interim solution. The nation's goal is to train pilots at home.

Initially the PoAF was more oriented towards a jet rather than a turpoprop as it was considering having the Leonardo M-346 purchased by a local contractor and then leased under a "power by the hour" contract.

It is currently unclear whether budgetary problems or the lack of agreement with the providers have led Lisbon to make several assessments.

Written by Matteo Sanzani

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