Embraer expects to sell first Super Tucano aircraft to NATO customer this year

Embraer Super Tucano NATO customer
Embraer A-29N Super Tucano. It is a NATO-optimized variant of the Brazilian-made aircraft.

Embraer expects to announce a first order for the NATO-optimized A-29N version of its Super Tucano light attack turboprop aircraft later this year, after demonstrating the platform’s capabilities to several European nations.

This is what the CEO of Embraer Defense & Security, Bosco da Costa Junior, revealed in an interview with Flight Global during a media event in Portugal.

“We expect to have a launch customer [of the A-29N] this year”. Among the possible interested parties in the Super Tucano in Europe, Bosco indicated the Netherlands and Portugal, both members of NATO, in addition to Austria.

The company launched the A-29N in mid-April, “with an initial focus on meeting the needs of NATO nations in Europe”.

Embraer says it has sold more than 260 Super Tucanos to 16 air forces. The global fleet has accumulated a combined 535,000 flight hours, it adds, including 60,000 during combat operations.

“It’s a completely proven platform,” says da Costa Junior, who points to its utility as a multi-role asset.

“We are looking for the usage of the A-29 in the NATO community as a defensive trainer, JTAC [joint terminal attack controller] trainer and [for] reconnaissance – those are the demands that we are listening to in this market,” he says.

“The countries that we are in touch with… would like to use their planes for a more simple operation in a war environment.

“To fly a fifth-generation fighter is so expensive… the flight hour of this airplane is very cost-effective, so we believe this airplane could perform a very important role [for NATO nations,” da Costa Junior says.

Embraer is in the process of defining the adaptations required for the A-29’s operation by NATO members, which will largely focus on communication system and datalink updates. “We have intentions to add additional equipment, including a large, smart display… in the country of the launch customer,” he reveals.

No European operators currently fly the Super Tucano, with Embraer’s existing customers located in Africa, the Asia-Pacific, Latin America, Middle East and North America.

Embraer believes an addressable global market exists to deliver 500 A-29s over the next 20 years, with this volume of business to be worth a potential $6.5 billion.

Image: Embraer

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