A-1M Flies; Embraer Delivers Milestone Aircraft

 - June 22, 2012, 4:02 PM
The F-5M program (also known as F-5BR) has now delivered the first batch of 46 aircraft. Work has begun on upgrading another 11. (Photo: Embraer)

In a ceremony at the Gavião Peixoto plant on June 19, Embraer marked three milestones as part of its activities to support the Brazilian air force. The most notable was the first flight of the first A-1 AMX upgraded to A-1M configuration. The A-1M is a refurbished aircraft upgraded with a number of new systems, including Mectron SCP-01 Scipio multimode radar, onboard oxygen generating system and an Elbit avionics suite that includes a new glass cockpit and the Dash helmet-mounted display. Embraer is modernizing 43 aircraft to the A-1M standard in a program scheduled for completion in 2017. Ten aircraft have already entered the upgrade process.

During the ceremony Embraer also handed over the last A-29 Super Tucano to the Brazilian air force. The service became the launch customer for the type when it ordered 99 in December 2003 under the AL-X program. In Força Aerea Brasiliana (FAB) service the A-29 is used for advanced training and as a light attack/patrol aircraft as part of the Sivam Amazon surveillance system.

Embraer’s third achievement of the day was delivery to the FAB of the final two F-5M modernized fighters from the first batch to be ordered. Forty-six aircraft were covered by this program, which involved structural refurbishment for at least 15 more years of life. An avionics update developed with Elbit included replacing the original radar with the Selex Galileo Grifo F, and the installation of a datalink, modern cockpit and helmet-mounted display.

Conversion of 11 more aircraft (eight F-5E single-seaters and three F-5F two-seaters purchased from Jordan) to F-5M standard is under way, following contract award in December 2010. Deliveries of this second batch will start next year.