In an interview with ” Live Mint,” senior Embraer executive Caetano Neto stated that the company hopes to sell India’s A-29 Super Tucano Light attack aircraft, which Embraer believes can be used for close air support, forward area surveillance, and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, to the Indian Air Force, Indian Navy, Indian Coast Guard, and border security forces such as the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and the Border Security Force (BSF).
A-29 In addition to border patrol and pipeline surveillance, Super Tucano is capable of completing additional operations that are of importance to certain nations, such as border patrol and pipeline surveillance.
The A-29 can carry 250-pound and 500-pound laser-guided bombs as well as the AGR-20 Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System.
50-caliber machine guns, in addition to additional capabilities for gravity bombs and illuminating flares.
The A-29C, on the other hand, is outfitted with non-disclosable U.S. Air Force mission systems and fourth-generation cockpit technologies, including as touch screens. The A-29C is anticipated to acquire its Military Type Certificate later this year or early in 2023, per Embraer.
A-29 Super Tucano
The A-29 Super Tucano is a turboprop light attack/armed reconnaissance aircraft designed by Embraer in Brazil and built under license by Sierra Nevada Corp.
USAF has long sought a cost-effective, manned light CAS/tactical ISR platform for operations in permissive counter-insurgency type scenarios. The A-29 was initially a contender for the Air Force’s Light Attack/Armed Reconnaissance (LAAR) requirement for approximately 100 aircraft which fell prey to budget cuts a decade ago.
The service launched a renewed effort in 2017, kicking off the Light Attack Experiment (OA-X) to rapidly evaluate off-the-shelf CAS/ISR platforms to relieve pressure on existing, higher-cost fleets such as the A-10 and F-16. A fatal A-29 crash abruptly ended the flight segment of evaluations at Holloman on June 22, 2018.
Trials, however, yielded sufficient data for USAF to opt for two AT-6Bs and two (later increased to three) A-29s. The AT-6s assigned to ACC at Nellis will support tactics development and testing, while the A-29s slated for AFSOC will form the basis of a Combat Aviation Advisor and SOF-support capability.
USSOCOM is simultaneously looking to replace its AFSOC-operated U-28A fleet with as many as 75 enhanced capability “armed overwatch” aircraft. Congress, however, banned funding the effort through FY23 pending study and justification.
AETC’s 81st Fighter Squadron also operated the A-29 as part of the Train, Advise, Assist Command-Air (TAAC-Air) training of Afghan Air Force crews at Moody. USAF handed-off training to the AAF, graduating its final class of pilots in November 2020. A total of 13 countries operate the A-29 world-wide. All three AFSOC aircraft are slated for delivery in 2021.