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12 novembre 2015 4 12 /11 /novembre /2015 08:30
Lebanese AF Selects A-29 Super Tucano for Close Air Support Role


Nov 9, 2015 ASDNews  Source : Embraer - Empresa Brasileira de Aeronautica S.A


The Republic of Lebanon today confirmed the acquisition of six A-29 Super Tucano turboprop aircraft from Embraer Defense & Security and Sierra Nevada Corporation. The contract includes logistics support for aircraft operation as well as a complete training system for Lebanese Air Force pilots and mechanics. The sale was approved in June by the U.S. State Department. The aircraft sale is part of a larger, more comprehensive package, including infrastructure improvements, that will be fulfilled by other parties not involved in the Embraer/SNC partnership. The planes, which are currently in operation with 10 Air Forces around the world, will be built in the Jacksonville, Florida.

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19 juin 2015 5 19 /06 /juin /2015 09:45
photo Embraer

photo Embraer


18 juin 2015 source Aerobuzz.fr


Le constructeur brésilien Embraer a officialisé au salon du Bourget une commande de 6 A-29 Super Tucano émanant de la République du Mali. Le contrat inclut le support logistique pour les opérations ainsi que la formation des pilotes et des mécaniciens. Les Super Tucano seront déployés pour la formation avancée des pilotes des forces aériennes maliennes, la surveillance des frontières et des missions de sureté intérieure.

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18 mars 2015 3 18 /03 /mars /2015 17:35
Vol d'entraînement au profit d'un pilote afghan aux Etats-Unis. Photo USAF

Vol d'entraînement au profit d'un pilote afghan aux Etats-Unis. Photo USAF


18 Mars 2015 par Defens’Aero


Au mois de Février 2013, le Pentagone a confirmé son intention de se procurer vingt A-29 Super Tucano afin de former et de constituer une véritable force aérienne pour l'Afghanistan, qui voit le départ de plusieurs milliers de militaires de l'ISAF, mois après mois, et qui va devoir assumer, tant bien que mal, la sécurité de son pays.


Le contrat, remporté face à l'AT-6 Texan de l'avionneur Beechcraft, prévoit, en plus de la livraison des appareils légers d'attaque au sol, la vente d'un simulateur, un système informatique permettant le débriefing des missions, ainsi qu'un support logistique et un certain nombre de pièces qui seront utilisées pour les réparations et la maintenance, une fois que l'Afghanistan réceptionnera officiellement les Super Tucano sur son territoire.


Et cette réception devrait se faire vers la fin de l'année 2015, plus précisément au mois de Décembre, si tout se déroule comme prévu. En effet, selon John Campbell, Général au sein de l'US Army et commandant de la Force Internationale d'Assistance et de Sécurité, le premier A-29 Super Tucano devrait se poser sur le sol afghan à la fin de l'année.


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30 septembre 2014 2 30 /09 /septembre /2014 11:20
First A-29 Super Tucano delivered at Roll-Out Ceremony

First A-29 Super Tucano delivered at Roll-Out Ceremony


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (Sept. 25, 2014) sncorp.com


Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) and Embraer Defense & Security today presented the first United States-built A-29 Super Tucano light air support aircraft in a roll-out ceremony with the U.S. Air Force and government officials, industry and community representatives, and news media. The aircraft, which also performs as an outstanding advanced trainer, is the first of 20 that are being delivered to the U.S. Air Force for its Light Air Support (LAS) program to support the stability of Afghanistan as it assumes increased responsibility for security with the redeployment of NATO forces.


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20 novembre 2013 3 20 /11 /novembre /2013 18:25
TenCate selected by Embraer for supplying ballistic protection for A-29 Super Tucano


Nov 20, 2013 ASDNews Source : TenCate


TenCate Advanced Armour has been selected by aerospace manufacturer Embraer as the supplier of aerospace armour for the Embraer A-29 Super Tucano military aircraft. The aircraft will be supplied in partnership with Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) as the prime contractor for the aircraft. No financial details will be published.


The Embraer EMB 314 – also named A-29 Super Tucano – is a turboprop aircraft designed for light attack, counter-insurgency, close air support, aerial reconnaissance missions in low threat environments, as well as providing pilot training. It is currently in service with the air forces of Angola, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Indonesia, and Mauritania. The A-29 has been ordered by Senegal and the United States. February 27, 2013, the U.S. Air Force announced that it has selected the Embraer Defense and Security´s A-29 Super Tucano for its Light Air Support program.


Tier 1 aerospace armour company


Steen Tanderup, managing director of TenCate Advanced Armour EMEA states: “Embraer’s decision for supplier selection in this major high-end aerospace aircraft confirms that TenCate Advanced Armour has developed into a fully accepted tier 1 aerospace armour company. The EN9100 certified facility of TenCate in France is providing the design, development and production of dedicated high quality aerospace ballistic protection for a number of high-profile helicopter and fixed-wing aircraft projects. This production plant is at the required level and will further evolve in the near future. In this way TenCate will contribute to increase the protection of aircrews and aircraft platforms in hostile environments”.


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17 septembre 2013 2 17 /09 /septembre /2013 07:25
Embraer on Schedule with Jacksonville A-29 Super Tucano Assembly Facility

Sep 17, 2013 ASDNews Source : Embraer - Empresa Brasileira de Aeronautica S.A


Embraer Defense & Security Inc. announced, today, at the Air Force Association’s Air & Space Conference and Technology Exposition that the company is on schedule with its Jacksonville, Florida, assembly facility to begin deliveries in mid-2014 of A-29 Super Tucano aircraft to the U.S. Air Force for the Light Air Support (LAS) program.


There have been several developments since the contract award was announced on February 27, 2013.


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14 juin 2013 5 14 /06 /juin /2013 07:35
AT-29 Super Tucano  photo Embraer

AT-29 Super Tucano photo Embraer

Jun. 13, 2013 by Stephen Trimble - FG


Washington DC - The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) today rejected an attempt by Beechcraft to overturn a controversial, $427 million contract awarded to a Sierra Nevada/Embraer team to supply 20 A-29 Super Tucanos to the Afghan air force.


The GAO decision appears to complete the final chapter of a three-year acquisition saga over the light air support (LAS) contract in which the US Air Force was forced to re-compete the original deal awarded to the Sierra Nevada/Embraer team after discovering undisclosed errors in the documentation process.


The Sierra Nevada/Embraer team won the second competition again last February, although the value of the deal had increased by 25% since the previous award in 2011.


Beechcraft filed a protest with the GAO less than two weeks after the contract award. In the previous competition, Beechcraft appealed the GAO's decision with the Court of Federal Claims, but this time the company appears to have accepted the rejection, albeit conditionally.


Beechcraft is now calling on US lawmakers to intervene by preventing the USAF from awarding follow-on deals involving the A-29 to other countries besides Afghanistan.


"Beechcraft remains confident that the AT-6, which was rated 'exceptional' by the air force, was the better choice for LAS and is the best aircraft for US partner nations in need of light attack aircraft," the company says.


The LAS programme was conceived as a means for the USAF to equip certain allies with a counter-insurgency fighter. The USAF pays for the aircraft to be delivered and provides the partner country with training and access to sensors and weapons.


The Sierra Nevada/Embraer team and the Beechcraft AT-6 were the only bidders for the award. The competition grew heated as Beechcraft attacked the A-29's Brazilian roots, despite the heritage of the AT-6 as a licensed derivative of the Switzerland-based Pilatus PC-9.


"Today's decision is a win for the American warfighters and our allies in Afghanistan who urgently need this light air support capacity to fulfill our mission there," says Taco Gilbert, vice-president of integrated tactical solutions for SNC's intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance business area.


The Sierra Nevada/Embraer team plans to deliver the first A-29 to Afghanistan in mid-2014.

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11 juin 2013 2 11 /06 /juin /2013 16:25
SuperTucano photo Embraer

SuperTucano photo Embraer

Jun. 11 , 2013 by Dave Majumdar – FG


Washington DC - Embraer will display its A-29 Super Tucano at the Paris air show for the first time, a top company official says. The aircraft will not fly, but will be on static display.


"We are going to bring our Super Tucano to Le Bourget," says Luiz Carlos Aguiar, chief executive of Embraer Defense and Security. "This is the first time in history the airplane will be there."


The A-29 that will be on display at Paris is an aircraft destined for Mauritania, Aguiar says. The nation has so far taken deliver of two light-attack aircraft from a three-unit order signed in March 2012.


Aguiar says it is important for Embraer to showcase the Super Tucano after the company's victory over Beechcraft's AT-6 during the US Air Force's Light Air Support (LAS) contest. While the 20 aircraft that are to be delivered for the LAS contract are for Afghanistan rather than for the USAF's own use, the service's selection is an important endorsement of the Super Tucano's capabilities.


"After our win in the US, it seems to me that the interest from other countries is increasing," Aguiar says. "We expect to have more sales of the A-29."


There have already been two new customers for the aircraft since the LAS selection: Guatemala and Senegal, he notes. Moreover, there is growing interest in the Super Tucano in Africa, Asia and Latin America. So far, Embraer has delivered 175 Super Tucanos out of a total order book for 216 aircraft, and the company hopes to add more sales.


Currently, Embraer builds 12 Super Tucanos per year, but Aguiar expects production to ramp up to 20 per annum in the future. The company will have the capacity to build 24 additional aircraft per year at its new US-based facility in Florida, Aguiar says. The first example to be built in the USA will start assembly towards the end of 2013 and will be delivered by June 2014, he adds.


Meanwhile, Embraer is making headway on its other flagship project, the KC-390 tanker/transport. Engineering drawings have been released to component suppliers and parts for the first two prototypes are under construction, says Aguiar, who adds that the company expects to make a big announcement about the programme during the Paris air show.

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5 avril 2013 5 05 /04 /avril /2013 07:25



Apr. 3, 2013 - By AARON MEHTA  - Defense News


In 2006, Embraer Defense & Security, Brazil’s largest defense company, earned $227 million in revenue. In 2012, it cleared $1 billion in revenue for the first time. That economic growth has mirrored the company’s emergence on the world stage, a presence the company is confident it can increase even as nations around the world cut defense spending.


With the U.S. Air Force selecting Embraer’s Super Tucano as the light air support (LAS) contract winner to supply Afghanistan with new turboprop combat planes, the company now has a foothold in America and eyes on worldwide expansion with its KC-390 transport plane. Defense News talked to company CEO Luiz Carlos Aguiar on March 14 as part of a company-sponsored trip to Brazil.


Q. You’ve talked about seeking out niche markets. How does the company target these and capitalize on them?


A. We have great experience doing that, not just on defense. On defense, we have a couple of examples, such as the [LAS contract]. When the Brazilian Air Force and Embraer designed these airplanes, it was designed for the Brazilian mission. Later, we found we had discovered a niche product for countries like Brazil that had challenges on their borders, trying to control the narco-traffic, drugs, arms and other things like that. The Philippines, Indonesia, even Central America, there is a great challenge to control the drugs there. The Brazilian Air Force had introduced a new aircraft, and later other air forces decided it was the right one to combat these kind of problems we have all over the world.


Another case is the patrol and surveillance aircraft based on the ERJ-145 [a civilian regional jet]. It’s a very cost-effective airplane. It is now being utilized by Mexico, by Greece, by India and others. It was again based on the Brazilian budget constraints.


Other countries have a lot of cuts and they need to have a surveillance system. For their missions, they don’t need to buy a larger airplane — they need something smaller. Once again, we found our niche for that.


Q. How is the KC-390 transport plane different from past products?


A. When we thought about this airplane, it was the first time we looked at the international market also, not just the Brazilian requirements. We balanced both needs. We saw the market first. We saw there were 2,000 old airplanes all over the world in more than 70 countries, very well spread out with a diversified base of potential customers. We looked at that and saw there was only one aircraft available in the market being produced and being delivered [the C-130].


We looked at the market and then came back to the Brazilian Air Force to talk with them about what they think about their cargo airplanes for the future. They said they were probably going to replace with more C-130s, and we started talking and showed them we were able to develop something in a very feasible way. It took two years working together to launch and sign the contract. It was a much more sophisticated process. We are on schedule, and I think we have a great chance to sell abroad.


Q. What other products do you have an eye on exporting?


A. When you look at the land side of it, we have the C4I capabilities with the company we just bought, Atech. We need to invest more money on that, we need to have more contracts to develop the technology, but there are capabilities already in place.


The radar company, Orbisat, once again has a chance in Brazil to produce and deliver [for Embraer’s border security system] Sisfron, and then we’ll have an economy of scale and a great chance to mature this product and export it also. We are focused on C4I, radars. And our bet is intelligence and communications.


Q. You’ve said you view the LAS contract as establishing the company in the American market. How do you expand?


A. We need to consolidate first and execute this program. We have a new company there, which is Embraer Defense & Security, incorporated in the U.S. We need to find someone who will manage it, a local, American executive to run this business for us. And then we’re going to write down a new business plan for America that, in my opinion, must include certain types of acquisitions. We need to think a little more about it.


First thing is getting there, executing this program [LAS], getting closer to increase our credibility with the end user. We are certain in this. But we want to take this opportunity to get to know our end user. We’re going to find and study the market.


Our main objective is two pillars: mobility and surveillance. These two operational capabilities are what we are focused on. Any type of acquisition, any type of project, will be under these two pillars.


We don’t want to go into armaments or other areas. Why? Because despite all of the budget constraints, these two areas need capabilities. Even in these specific areas, the budget in Europe or the U.S. might grow despite the fact the entire [defense] budget is shrinking.


Q. Are you worried about Beechcraft’s challenge to the LAS contract award?


A. No. The process was so robust. Senior people took control of the process. They have internal and external advisers. I think they did the right thing, they did it by the book, and they will prove that. It’s going to take some time, but I think this time we’re going to get there. We are ready to go right away in order to deliver on time, but we need to be patient and wait a little bit more, unfortunately.


Q. Could the Beechcraft challenge impact the timing of the contract?


A. I hope not. At this stage, it is very difficult to say something. [The U.S. Air Force] needs to [act] carefully so it does not open any gap in the process. That’s the way it is.


Unfortunately, our competitors are going downhill. They discontinued a lot of products that in the past were the champions of the market, and they tried to keep this as if it was their survival. They keep saying that they have the lower price. But mission capabilities, past performance and price, there are three variables and the [request for proposal] is quite clear on that. [USAF] took all of the information, put it inside their model, and then said who is the winner. That’s the way it is.


Q. Is Brazil’s long-delayed F-X fighter jet program coming soon, and what role will Embraer have?


A. I think Brazil is going to make this decision. It is time to make this decision. They have everything in place. All of the contenders have offered their offset programs. It’s more than mature enough to go ahead, in my opinion. I think it’s going to be in the next months, this year, I would say. Our role in that depends — I cannot tell any details — depends on who is going to win.


We have a memorandum of understanding with all three of the contenders. Each of them offers an offset program, but we prefer not declaring publicly our preference because we don’t want it to jeopardize the choice. It is a governmental decision, and we will respect that. Whatever they choose, we’re going to be in the process. They need to make this decision because Brazil needs that.


And it will have huge benefits for industry as well. There are new technologies, products and developments. There are opportunities for Embraer to leverage our current technology through the F-X. With the F-X, we can even go further in terms of technology, and even some new products could come up with one of these three contenders. That’s what I can tell you, I can’t go further than that.


Q. Did the decision to recompete the LAS competition hurt the chances of a U.S. company winning the F-X program?


A. There is no formal relation between the two programs. Formally. But goodwill is important. I couldn’t say that the [F/A-18 Super Hornet] is not going to be selected, but for sure, the way that [the initial LAS contract] happened in the United States — choosing a Brazilian aircraft, then canceling the contract, the way it happened — it caused some kind of bad blood, right? It’s a normal, human perception.


Q. But you don’t think there was long-term damage to the relationship between the two countries?


A. No, I don’t think so. Now, it is different. There are some steps that any competitor in the United States has the right to do. It doesn’t mean the [USAF] is canceling the contract; they are trying to keep our victory. One year ago, they looked at the process, saw some gaps, made a mistake and they canceled the contract. Now it’s different. They are trying to defend their choice. So far, so good. No problem at all with the relationship. It’s a part of the game there. That’s the way it is, there are rules and laws.


Q. What is next for Embraer?


A. We’re going to have a lot of new projects. And they are big. We’re talking about $20-25 billion in the next 10 years. If you look back, it started in 2008, when we had the new national defense strategy. After that, you had the mobility project with KC-390, the submarine project with the French company DCNS, the Sisfron.


In any society, you want to develop technology and protect yourself, because there are threats you didn’t have before. There are more things happening in Brazil right now, and we need to protect ourselves. There are high-level, added-value products we can develop and export. That’s our objective. We don’t see the maximum market as just selling in Brazil and continuing the process later. We try to focus where we can add value, build up a capability, and sell abroad. That’s the way it is.




• 2012 revenue: $1.06 billion

• 2012 backlog: $3.4 billion

• Key businesses: Aerospace, border security, ISR and integrated solutions.

• Key markets: Latin America, Africa, Asia-Pacific

Source: Defense News research




Mehta reported from San Jose Dos Campos, Brazil.

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27 mars 2012 2 27 /03 /mars /2012 16:45
Latin America re-arms air combat fleets

Colombia has set about upgrading its Kfir fighters


20 Mar 2012 by Stephen Trimble - FG


Washington DC - For many years, military spending in South America was a footnote in forecasts of the global arms trade. While that was once a healthy sign of a continent largely at peace among member states, the stakes have changed. South America still does not compare with the giants of the global arms trade, but military spending is growing rapidly.


The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), the world's independent arms trade watchdog, felt compelled to issue a report earlier this year on Latin American spending. As budgets have "risen considerably", SIPRI's analysts sought to focus attention on the continent's woeful record of disclosure on military budget accounts.


The institute may have some grounds for raising the alarm. South American countries are poised for a new round of major arms purchases. From Brazil to Chile to Venezuela, air forces are priming to re-arm their front-line fighter fleets. Everywhere, countries are prioritising the growth of local aerospace companies, leveraging the biggest weapons deals to transfer key skills and technologies to local industry. The continent's traditional Western suppliers are not the only ones to notice. Russian and Chinese manufacturers have poured into the region, striking deals for fighters, helicopters, trainers, transports and unmanned air vehicles (UAVs).




A seemingly never-ending fighter modernisation process in Chile is gearing up for a fourth competition in less than 20 years. The Chilean Air Force (FACh) has 16 Northrop F-5 Tiger IIs that are due to be retired after 2015. Contractors are already preparing for the biggest procurement prize in South America, after Brazil's F-X2 acquisition programme for at least 36 fighters.


Lockheed Martin was Chile's preferred supplier in the previous three rounds. The FACh selected the F-16 Block 50 in 2000 for a 10-aircraft order. That was followed in 2004 by a first batch of 18 second-hand F-16A/B mid-life update Block 20s from the Netherlands, and in 2008 by a second batch of another 18 F-16A/Bs. In addition, the FACh ordered 12 Embraer EMB-314 Super Tucanos.


Lockheed has been eager to campaign for the F-5 replacement order for at least five years. In 2007, a Lockheed executive even touted the F-35 as a possible option for the FACh. Three years later, a US Air Force F-22 made a debut appearance at the FIDAE air show. The F-35 programme delays and cost increases may lead Chile to look elsewhere, but Lockheed may still offer new or used F-16s. On the other hand, Chile's political and military leadership may prefer to diversify its sources of combat aircraft. Prior to the F-16 selection, the FACh inventory included a mix of US-made F-5s and French-made Mirage 50s.


FACh officials have reportedly visited Eurofighter manufacturing sites in Spain. A batch of new or used EF-2000s ordered by Chile would introduce the type in Latin America. Chile has been among the most active military spenders in recent years as a 10% tax on surging copper revenues has kept procurement active. In addition to the new fighters, Chile will introduce the most advanced UAV in South America. In June, Chile was disclosed as the buyer of an Elbit Systems Hermes 900.




Sustained economic growth has yielded some benefits to Argentina's air force, but perhaps not in the way service leaders had envisioned. Despite sustained growth as Latin America's third-largest economy, Argentina still operates one of the most ancient fleets of combat aircraft.


Its "youngest" fighters, measured in terms of Argentine service, are ex-US Navy A-4s, delivered in the late 1990s with upgraded radars and avionics by the former Lockheed Martin Aircraft Argentina (LMAASA). The air force fleet also includes 13 Dassault Mirage IIIs, seven Mirage 5s and 13 Israel Aerospace Industries Daggers. The navy, meanwhile, operates 11 Dassault-Breguet Super Etendards.


Although Argentina's defence budget has doubled since 2007, there are still no active replacement programmes. The inaction may be partly explained by market analysis from Forecast International, which estimates personnel salaries consumed 70% of the $4 billion defence budget in 2011. The $4 billion budget, while a 100% improvement on 2007, still represents only about 0.6% of Argentina's GDP.


However, there are encouraging signs for the resurgence of Argentina's air force. The rise in military spending has allowed a once highly skilled aerospace industry to rebound from decades of neglect. In 2009, the nation's Kirchner administration reclaimed LMAASA from Lockheed's management.


The Argentine-owned FAdeA reopened its factory in Cordoba on 17 December, and the company has hummed with activity ever since. Although it has yet to work on Argentina's front-line fighters, it has reset its skills set by modernising the country's proudest aviation achievements - the IA-58 Pucara light attack aircraft and the IA-63 advanced jet trainer.


On 8 July 2011, FAdeA delivered the first upgraded IA-58 to the air force. The upgrades start with maintenance improvements, with the eventual replacement of the avionics and navigation systems. Finally, FAdeA will replace the ageing Turbomeca Astazou engines with Pratt & Whitney PT6A-62s, allowing the seminal counter-insurgency aircraft to remain in service until 2045.


Meanwhile, the air force has also funded FAdeA to manufacture 40 IA-63s designed to the Series II standard, which includes the 4,250lb (1,900kg) Honeywell TF731-40-N2 turbofan. The first flight of a re-engined IA-63 on 8 June 2011 spurred FAdeA's marketing division to poetically describe the "sublime moment that justifies the hours and hours of dedication, effort, ingenuity and creativity".


FAdeA is already pursuing larger ambitions, while the country's aeronautic pride has been rekindled. The air force's aeronautical university has developed an all-new cruise missile - the FAS-850 Dardo 2C. Another local company has joined forces with Israel's Innocon to develop the indigenously built Yarara, a 30kg-class unmanned air vehicle.


FAdeA wants to design a new military trainer to replace the air force's retired Beechcraft T-34 Mentors. A prototype of the IA-73 is notionally scheduled to achieve first flight in 2013. If it succeeds, the IA-73 will be the first Argentine-built aircraft to enter service since the IA-63 in 1988.


Other opportunities are being pursued. In November, FAdeA hosted a delegation from the China National Aero-Technology Import & Export Corporation (CATIC) to discuss the possibility of license-building the Changhe Z-11 helicopter. The Argentine army evaluated the Harbin Z-9 in 2008, and selected the aircraft.




In January 2011, Embraer had the misfortune to launch a defence and security business around the same time Brazil made a 26% cut in military procurement. Luiz Carlos Aguiar, president of Embraer's defence business, shrugs when recalling the episode. "As a matter of fact, by the end of the year we had a very good recovery," he says. "They didn't cut one single programme from their plan."


The momentary pause in Brazilian defence spending has passed. With Brazil hosting the football World Cup in 2014 and the Olympic Games two years later, few countries in Latin America have more incentive to invest in Latin America during the next two years.


Aguiar notes that the 2012 defence budget largely recovers any reductions in the procurement accounts from last year. In fact, the procurement budget has increased in 2012 by 18% to R8 billion ($4.5 billion).


The largest allocation - $500 million - is for Brazil's joint helicopter programme, which is acquiring 50 Eurocopter EC-725s. The budget also invests a further $302 million in the Embraer KC-390 tanker-transport, which is scheduled to fly in 2014 with deliveries two years later. However, the FX-2 fighter contract - Brazil's 16-year-old competition to replace a fleet of Dassault Mirage IIIs - is not in the 2012 budget. The competition has dragged on so long the Mirage IIIs have been replaced by Mirage 2000s, which also need to be retired.


But the lack of a 2012 line item for FX-2 is no cause for concern. Brazil's air force is expected to continue negotiating with the winning bidder for up to a year after contract selection before making the award.


Brazil's president Dilma Rousseff is reportedly set to make a decision in the first half of this year. The Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, Dassault Rafale and the Saab Gripen remain in the bidding, almost four years after the air force selected them as finalists. For its part, Boeing confirms the pricing it originally submitted in 2009 remains valid.


For Embraer, the decision is of no great consequence. In contrast with the aborted F-XBR competition, Embraer has forged no formal links with a particular bidder as it once did with Dassault. Meanwhile, the company can continue reaping the benefits of the continued delays.


In addition to the arrival of the Mirage 2000s in 2005, the delays have forced Brazil's air force to fund a new round of avionics and structural upgrades for the existing fleet. Embraer has received deals to upgrade 41 A-1 Alenia/Embraer AMX fighters, 53 Northrop F-5s, and 12 McDonnell Douglas A-4s. The upgrades are part of an overall $397 million line item in the 2012 budget to pay for the modernisation of the legacy fleet. "We have received all of our money related to all of our programmes," Aguiar says.




The Venezuelan military's acquisition arm has never been busier - or more creative. Banned by the USA from receiving most Western sources of supply since 2006, Venezuela has looked to Russia, China and Iran for arms during the past five years. US sanctions have failed to slow Venezuela's modernisation strategy, and in some ways have forced Caracas to aim even higher. Take the example of Venezuela's campaign to replace its ageing ­F-16As. The USA first blocked Brazil and Italy from exporting the AMX fighter, then stopped Israel from bidding to upgrade the F-16As with new avionics and weapons.


In response, Venezuela turned to Russia in 2006 to supply 24 Sukhoi Su-30s, a far more potent threat than upgraded F-16As. China also received orders for two batches totalling 24 to 36 Hongdu K-8Ws - more challenging to slip past the US export ban as the K-8 is powered by the Honeywell TFE731-2A turbofan engine. Hongdu has reportedly re-engined the K-8s with the Ukrainian Ivchenko Al-25TLK, and deliveries are already under way.


These procurements only seem to be the beginning for Venezuela. According to the Civil Association of Citizen Control (CACC), a Venezuela-based security watchdog, during the past two years Venezuela has announced a long list of future acquisitions.


Since April 2010, President Hugo Chavez has announced the acquisitions of two Beriev Be-200s for firefighting missions, 24 Su-35 fighters, up to 20 Antonov An-74 maritime patrol aircraft and 10 to 12 Shaanxi Y-8 transports, the association says. Venezuela has also been linked to the acquisition of the Chengdu J-10 or the less-capable JF-17, the CACC adds.


It is not always clear how real Venezuela's acquisition announcements are, but its rapid re-arming after 2006 lends some credibility. If all come to fruition, Venezuela could boast the most powerful air force in South America.


While it is importing weapons from Russia and China, Venezuela appears to be asking Iran for technology transfer, particularly in the crucial area of UAVs. Iran is widely reported to have exported 12 Ghods Mohajer UAVs to Venezuela, a tier-two aircraft by Western standards. Apparently some transfer of engineering skills accompany the sale. In November, Venezuela's state-owned armoury CAVIM unveiled a UAV called the ANT-1X.




Despite being one of the most prolific military spenders in South America, the Colombian air force boasts a modest combat fleet. Rather than replace ageing Kfir fighters, Colombia upgraded them to carry Israeli Python and Derby missiles, as well as Griffin III laser guided bombs. So it would come as no surprise if the Colombian air force decides used aircraft will suit its needs for the next big requirement: replacing eight Cessna A-37 Dragonflys.


Colombia's latest strategic plan seeks to acquire a jet-powered light attack fighter. There is no shortage of options available, including the Korea Aerospace Industries/Lockheed Martin T-50, Italy's Alenia Aermacchi M-346 and the UK's BAE Systems Hawk. However, expect Colombia to seek used aircraft from sources that include the Czech Republic's Aero Vodochody L159 and Italy and Brazil's AMX.


Meanwhile, Colombia's military is investing heavily to improve its aerospace industry. The military has ordered 25 Lancair Legacies, requiring local assembly. As of 8 March, state-owned CAMAN has assembled eight of the re-designated T-90 basic trainers.


In the meantime, Embraer has started to work with the Corporation de la Industria Aeronautica Colombiana (CIAC) to help the air force extend the life of 14 EMB-312 Tucanos by about 15 years. Embraer is also still seeking to convert a letter of intent with Colombia into an order for two KC-390 tanker transports, says Aguiar.


Colombia's goal is to allow CIAC to gain experience on the Tucano contract, then take on a bigger role in the KC-390 work.


"Depending on their performance they are going to be able to transfer some very simple aerospace components for the KC-390," Aguiar says. "They are trying to develop their industry step by step.




Peru has always been content to acquire its military aircraft from abroad, but there are recent signs that it, too, wants to develop more industrial capability.


The most significant step in this process came in late 2011, when Minister of Defence Daniel Mora confirmed the acquisition of a surprise new trainer and light attack fighter to replace its fleet of Cessna A-37 Dragonflys - the Korea Aerospace Industries KT-1 Woong-Bee.


The Super Tucano has lost out to the KT-1 in Peru

The Super Tucano has lost out to the KT-1 in Peru


It had once seemed inevitable that Peru would eventually buy the Embraer EMB-314 Super Tucano - to the point that Brazil's ministry of defence announced in February 2011 that Peru was in talks to buy 10 EMB-314s in a deal valued at $150 million.


However, something changed in Peru's decision-making process, and now the country's air force expects to take delivery of 24 KT-1s from South Korea.


Peru's decision clearly had nothing to do with comparative combat performance. The KT-1 is widely considered a robust trainer, but it is powered by an engine slightly more than half the size of the Super Tucano's powerplant.


The key to the deal may well have been cost, as the KT-1 is valued at less than half the price of the Super Tucano.


South Korea also agreed to allow Peru's local industry to participate in the acquisition. Peru's SEMAN repair station is reportedly assembling all 24 KT-1s for the air force, and is also producing between 500 and 600 parts of the aircraft.


Peru's air force has quietly, but steadily, re-equipped or modernised its combat aircraft fleet in recent years. Government policy has focused on eradicating coca farms, which has stirred the opposition of local farmers and created a minor security threat. In addition to the KT-1s, Peru also has a contract with Canada's Viking Air to deliver 12 DHC-6 Twin Otters for remote transport operations.


Helicopter modernisation has also been a recent priority. Russian Helicopters has begun deliveries of Mi-35P gunships and Mi-171Sh transports to Peru.


Meanwhile, Peru has also moved to prevent its ageing fighter fleet from drifting into decay. Last year, RSK completed deliveries of Peru's 12 MiG-29SMPs upgraded with new avionics. The MiG upgrades followed a $140 million project, which was launched at the 2009 Paris air show, to "recover" the air force's 12 Mirage 2000s, with Dassault, Thales and Snecma contracted to restore the airframes, avionics and engines.




Among Latin American air forces, Ecuador's has probably progressed the most since 2008. In March of that year, the sorry state of the Ecuadorian air force (FAE) was exposed when Colombia's air force attacked a suspected rebel hideout about 3km south of its border. Ecuador's air force was unable to even dispatch helicopters to the scene of the bombardment, much less defend the sovereignty of its airspace against what the government considered an illegal attack.


Three years later, the FAE has new fleets of HAL Dhruv helicopters from India; IAI Heron and Searcher UAVs from Israel; EMB-314s from Brazil; and, most recently, second-hand HAL Cheetah fighters from South Africa. It has also installed air surveillance radars along its border. The acquisitions follow a $680 million, three-year investment in the armed forces.


"We understood there is no security without development, but also no development without security," said President Rafael Correa, speaking on 14 February at the delivery ceremony of the Cheetah fleet.


There have been minor incidents along the way. One Dhruv helicopter crashed in October 2009 during a public ceremony. The pilot, who was killed, was blamed. Last August, an ejection seat malfunctioned in the Cheetah, which Correa attributed to an assembly error.


Ecuador's military modernisation is still ongoing. The country is reportedly in discussions with China to buy the Xian MA-600 transport. The US military has notified Congress that Ecuador's navy has requested a possible sale of second-hand Kaman SH-2 Seasprite helicopters.

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