In a ceremony at Gavião Peixoto on May 26, Embraer Defense and Security delivered the first of 12 A-4 Skyhawk combat jets that it is modernizing for the Brazilian Navy. Originally built by McDonnell Douglas, and nicknamed ‘the Scooter,’ the Skyhawk is designated AF-1 by the Brazilians. Embraer will upgrade nine AF-1 single-seaters and three AF-1A two-seaters to the AF-1B configuration for service on the Navy’s aircraft carrier, the NAe Sao Paulo.
“This is the first contract for systems integration that we have signed with the Brazilian Navy and, therefore, is a landmark in our relations,” said Jackson Schneider, President and CEO of Embraer Defense & Security. “The modernization of the AF-1 was a significant technological challenge, since it is a platform that we did not develop. Nevertheless, with the support and competence of the staff of the Brazilian Navy, we were able to deliver a solution that fully meets the operational needs of our client,” he continued. The first delivery occurred about three months later than expected.
The modernization includes new navigation, weapons, power, tactical communications and sensor systems, plus computers and a multimode state-of-the-art radar from IAI Elta Systems of Israel. This equipment, along with the structural work that was performed, will make it possible for these jet fighters to continue operating until 2025, according to Embraer. The modernization program also includes supplying briefing and debriefing stations that are already being used for the training and proficiency of pilots of the VF-1 Falcão Squadron in order to improve their use, to reduce costs, and to bring greater effectiveness to mission planning and execution, Embraer added.