As fighters become more complex, the need for highly effective trainer aircraft is on the rise. Embraer’s Super Tucano - a single-engine, stepped-tandem, multi-purpose military turboprop - delivers both training and operational effectiveness at low acquisition and operating costs. It offers advanced solutions for basic to early advanced and weapons familiarization training, such as in-flight virtual training, and also provides the superb operational characteristics required for successful internal security operation support and counter-insurgency (COIN) missions.
The origin of an
When Embraer introduced the Tucano twenty years ago, it completely revolutionized the concept of military pilot training.
Now the company is set to repeat that feat. The Super Tucano makes its debut during times of economic constraint when avionics and armament retirements are placing increased demands on training standards.
The last decade brought about dramatic changes in military aviation. Breakthroughs in avionics, sensors and armament systems have greatly influenced and rationalized the employment of a wide range of fighter, patrol and reconnaissance aircraft platforms, all of which have a significant effect on pilot training. Today's new operating scenarios demand superior skills from airmen which were unimaginable even ten years ago. Then, the aircraft and the training syllabus together simply produced a qualified pilot who was molded to fit operational realities. In these challenging times, the instruction cycle of future military pilots must now ensure an extremely fluid transition to operational units.
The end of the cold war gave rise to new threats, which were previously dormant and which could not always be satisfactorily dealt with through high-performance vectors. This was particularly true in regard to territories with extensive and relatively porous borders.
Embraer kept these aspects in mind in the development of a radically new aircraft, ideally suited to deal with current and future military fight training requirements and also deployable in scenarios that do not fit high-performance combat aircraft. Named the Super Tucano, this new multi-purpose military turboprop aircraft embodies features guaranteed to make it as legendary as its predecessor, the Tucano, a favorite of so many air forces throughout the world.
of a winner
The Super Tucano's airframe was designed, both in its single- and twin-seater versions, with the latest generation technology and computer-aided tools that provide the aircraft with a potential service life of 18,000 hours for typical training missions,or 12,000 flying hours in operational environments, depending on mission loads and utilization.
The airframe is designed to withstand +7G/-3.5G loads. The aircraft's structure is corrosion-protected and the side-hinged canopy has a windshield capable of withstanding a bird strike at 270 kts. The aircraft's cockpit environment has been enlarged to more comfortably accommodate male and female pilots and instrumentation has been designed to glass cockpit standards.
The Super Tucano incorporates features such as an environmental control system designed to maximize crew comfort and an On-Board Oxygen Generation System (OBOGS). Should the need arise, the Super Tucano is equipped with Martin-Baker MK-10lCX Ejection Seats incorporating a three-mode ejection sequential device.
A 1,600 SHP Pratt & Whitney PT6A-68/3 turboprop engine that incorporates FADEC (Full Authority Digital Engine Control) and EICAS (Engine Indication and Crew Alerting System) powers the aircraft.
Although it is a high-performance turboprop, the Direct Operational Cost of the Super Tucano is kept within the same range as its predecessor. The aircraft owes this advantage to improved logistics coupled with enhanced systems reliability and an Integrated Data Acquisition and Recorder (IDAR) system that helps speed maintenance work, in addition to easy component accessibility and revised inspection tasks.
The Super Tucano provides a latest generation Human-Machine Interface designed to minimize pilot workload through the optimization of all tasks (tracking, interception, surveillance, support, etc.).
Featuring a state-of-the-art avionics system structured around a MIL-STD-1533 Databus Architecture, the Super Tucano also incorporates the following systems:
Full Hands on Throttle and Stick (HOTAS) concept
Laser INS with GPS Navigation System
Computerized Attack Modes (CCIP, CCRP, CCIL, etc.)
HUD (Head Up Display) with UFCP (Up Front Control Panel)
Two 6” x 8” Liquid crystal, active matrix
Color Multi-Function Displays (CMFD) per pilot station
Tactical V/UHF with provisions for data-links
Integrated Radio Communication and Navigation
NVG Gen III-compatible internal/external lighting system
Automatic Pilot with embedded mission planning capability
Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR)
All-glass, low workload cockpit for situational awareness
Helmet Mounted Display System (optional)
The claws of a new
Light atack aircraft
Keeping in mind that the Super Tucano's role will not be limited to training alone, Embraer has equipped the A-29 (the Super Tucano version for the Brazilian Air Force, with 99 orders) with systems designed not only to comply with basic requirements, but also to keep pace with the continual changes taking place in the aircraft's potential operating theaters.
At the heart of the A-29's mission system are its two latest-generation MDPs (Mission & Display Processors), which receive and process data from sensors, navigation and attack variables and manage a multitude of other tasks such as HOTAS (Hands-On Throttle and Stick) operations, in addition to symbology generation and presentation for HUD and CMFDs.
Systems and equipment have been fully integrated on the aircraft:
Crew survivability is ensured through armor protection and state-of-the-art provisions such as MAWS (Missile Approach Warning System) and RWR (Radar Warning Receiver) in addition to chaff and flare dispensers. The communication and navigation system is similar to that of training applications, but features such as PR (Positioning Reporting) and ALE (Automatic Link Establishment) allow automatic transmission of aircraft position and flight data to ground bases. The aircraft is also equipped with an EGIR (Embedded GPS/INS & Radar Altimeter).
A two-axes military automatic pilot helps reduce pilot workload on long-endurance missions.
Tactical communications take place through a digital anti-interception and jamming V/UHF radio, which through a data-link modem is capable of transmitting frozen FLIR (Forward Looking Infrared) images or positioning fixes to other aircraft. In the silent receiver mode, the system can pick up data from ground stations or AEW&C aircraft without revealing its position.
HUD (Head Up Display) with UFCP (Up Front Control Panel) and
FLIR (Forward Looking Infrared) supplies digitized thermal imaging in two crew-selectable display modes, fully compatible with third-generation NVGs or better.
Trainer-Like Fighting and Fighter-Like Training
Embraer spared no effort in providing the Super Tucano with an Armament System that incorporates state-of-the-art technology.
Compatibility and Flexibility
The Super Tucano is designed to carry a fighter's typical array of weapons — either smart or conventional. Its armament line-up is fully integrated with its avionics system and comprises most advanced ordnance and sensors.
The aircraft features two .50" machine guns (200 rounds each) in the wings. Five hard points under the wing and fuselage allow up to 1,500 kg of weapons for most configurations. The aircraft's inboard stations, as well as its ventral one, are "wet" for external fuel tanks.
In addition to its two internal machine guns, the Super Tucano can be configured with additional underwing armament, such as two 20mm gun pods or .50" machine guns, thereby significantly increasing its firepower for missions requiring air-to-ground saturation.
Outboard stations allow the loading and firing of short-range air-air missiles of the AIM-9 class.
All stations can be loaded with the Mk 81 or Mk 82 (conventional or equipped with guidance kits) bombs, SBAT-70/19 or LAU-68 rocket launchers.
As a result of its unique design, the Super Tucano is ideally suited to cope with the Information Warfare environment.
In Brazil, it operates within the latest and most sophisticated surveillance system implemented in the world — the Amazon Surveillance Program or SIVAM.
The aircraft flies in border surveillance missions, pursuing and intercepting aerial targets. It is capable of receiving and transmitting data through its embedded, state-of-the-art data-link systems.
As fighters become more complex, the need for highly effective trainer aircraft is on the rise. Embraer’s Super Tucano — a single-engine, stepped-tandem, multi-purpose military turboprop — delivers both training and operational effectiveness at low acquisition and operating costs.
It offers advanced solutions for basic to early advanced and weapons familiarization training, such as in-flight virtual training and also provides the superb operational characteristics required for successful internal security, operation support and counter-insurgency (COIN) missions.