The Embraer EMB 314 Super Tucano, also named ALX or A-29 is a turboprop aircraft designed for light attack, counter insurgency (COIN), close air support, aerial reconnaissance missions in low threat environments, as well as providing pilot training. Designed to operate in high temperature and humidity conditions in extremely rugged terrain, the Super Tucano is highly maneuverable, has a low heat signature, incorporates fourth generation avionics and weapons system to deliver precision guided munitions.
The aircraft differs from the baseline EMB-312 Tucano trainer aircraft in several respects. It is powered by a more powerful 1,200 kW (1,600 shp) Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-68C engine (compared to the EMB-312’s 560 kW (750 shp) powerplant); has a strengthened airframe to sustain higher g loads and increase fatigue life to 18,000–12,000 hours in operational environments; a reinforced landing gear to handle greater takeoff weights and heavier stores load, up to 1,550 kilograms (3,300 pounds); Kevlar armour protection; two internal wing-mounted .50 calibre machine guns (with 200 rounds of ammunition each); capacity to carry various ordnance on five weapon hardpoints including Giat NC621 20 mm cannon pods, Mk 81/82 bombs, MAA-1 Piranha air-to-air missiles (AAMs), BLG-252 cluster bombs and SBAT-70/19 or LAU-68A/G rocket pods on its underwing stations; and has a night-vision goggle (NVG)-compatible “glass cockpit” with hands-on-throttle-and-stick (HOTAS) controls; provision for a datalink; a video camera and recorder; an embedded mission-planning capability; forward-looking infrared (FLIR); chaff/flare dispensers; missile approach warning receiver systems (MAWS) and radar warning receivers (RWRs); zero-zero ejection seats. The structure is corrosion-protected and the side-hinged canopy has a windshield able to withstand bird strike impacts up to 500 km/h (270 kn).
In 1996, Embraer selected the Israeli firm Elbit Systems to supply the mission avionics for the ALX. For this contract, Elbit was chosen over GEC-Marconi and Sextant Avionique. The Israeli company supplies such equipment as the mission computer, head-up displays, and navigation and stores management systems.
On 13 October 2010, the Super Tucano A-29B had passed the mark of 48,000 hours since 21 July 2005 on full scale wing-fuselage structural fatigue test, conducted by the Aeronautical Systems Division (ASA), part of the Aeronautics and Space Institute (IAE) at the Structural Testing Laboratory. The test involves a complex system of hydraulics and tabs that apply pressure to aircraft structure, simulating air pressure from flying at varying altitudes. The simulation continued for another year to complete the engine fatigue life test and crack propagation studies for a damage tolerance analysis program of conducted by Embraer and IAE/ASA.
Embraer developed an advanced training and support system suite called Training Operational Support System (TOSS) an integrated computational tool composed of four systems: Computer Based Training (CBT) enabling the student to rehearse the next sortie on a computer simulation; Aviation Mission Planning Station (AMPS) which uses the 3D visuals to practice planned missions and to check inter-visibility between aircraft and from aircraft and other entities; Mission Debriefing Station (MDS) employs real aircraft data to playback missions for review and analysis; Flight Simulator (FS). MPS and MDS was enhanced with MAK’s 3D visualization solution to support airforces pre-existing data, including GIS, Web-based servers and a plug-in for custom terrain formats.
In 2012, Boeing Defense, Space & Security was selected to integrate Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) and Small Diameter Bombs (SDB) for the Super Tucano. In 2013, Embraer Defense and Security CEO disclosed that its subsidiary, OrbiSat, was developing a new radar for the Super Tucano. A Colombian General disclosed that the future Side looking airborne radar (SLAR) will be able to locate ground targets smaller than a car with digital precision.