Embraer last week formally responded to Turkey’s request for proposals for a new military trainer, offering its Super Tucano for a requirement expected to result in 36 firm orders and 19 options. The Brazilian jet has also been technically approved for Singapore’s trainer RFP with this bidding process due to be finalized by the end of July, ahead of the final commercial and financial proposals.
The Super Tucano has just completed a globe-trotting half-year that has seen it logging more than 21,000 miles to appear at February’s Singapore Air Show, followed by the FIDAE event in Chile during March. In December the program received a boost from a 25-aircraft order from Colombia.
According to Luis Carlos Aguiar, Embraer’s executive vice president for the defense market, the UK’s plans for a contracted out military flying training system could result in the Super Tucano eventually replacing the Royal Air Force’s existing enhanced Tucanos. But at this stage, the various private finance initiative consortia are still trying to define the overall response to the requirement and have not yet settled on proposals for aircraft acquisition.
Here at Farnborough International, the Brazilian manufacturer is showcasing the various military applications of its 145 family of regional jets. This includes platforms for airborne early warning and countermeasures, remote sensing/airborne ground surveillance, maritime patrol and anti-submarine and surface warfare.
Aguiar told Aviation International News that Embraer is now awaiting several RFPs for various special mission requirements from governments in Latin America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. It has already sold EMB-145 special missions platforms to Brazil, Mexico and Greece.
According to Aguiar, the regional jet offers significantly lower operating costs compared with rival executive jet-based platforms, such as the Gulfstream G550 and Bombardier Global Express. He maintained that the 145 also offers more flexible engineering options for installing the various surveillance, countermeasures and weapons packages.
Earlier this year, the selection of the 145 as the platform for the new U.S. airborne common sensor program was cancelled after the Pentagon changed its mind to demand more payload uplift. The decision was frustrating to Embraer but Aguiar insisted that the 145 meets most of the joint force requirements and all of the U.S. Army and Navy needs for carrying ISR equipment.
The program is being re-evaluated, but Aguiar insisted that Embraer is still in contention. He did not rule out offering the larger 190 twinjet if more lift is required.
Embraer also provides VIP/government transport versions of its 145-derived Legacy business jets, with six delivered to India for this purpose and another recent order announced by Nigeria. It is now bidding the 145 for an additional multi-mission requirement lodged by the Indians.