Dubai Airshow

Emirati Light Attack Aircraft Breaks Cover

 - November 13, 2017, 3:12 AM
With a pedigree tracing back to the Embraer EMB 312 Tucano, Calidus’s PT6A-powered B-250 is a brand-new light attack/training aircraft equipped with Rockwell Collins Pro Line Fusion avionics. The company said it intends to begin manufacturing the type in the UAE.

Unveiled at the Dubai show this week, the Calidus B-250 is a light attack/trainer aircraft that has been developed in Brazil but which will be built in the UAE by Calidus (Chalet A34-35) as part of the Bader program. A facility is being completed in Al Ain to build the aircraft, which is intended for a range of duties, including ISR, counter-insurgency, close air support and training.

Developed under conditions of some secrecy in just 20 months, the B-250 has been designed by Novaer at São José dos Campos, near São Paulo, under the leadership of Joseph Kovács, who created the Embraer Tucano. The B-250 draws on Kovács’s work in producing the redesigned Golden Aircraft/US Aircraft Corporation A-67 Dragon, but incorporates significant elements of composite structure. It has a stepped tandem cockpit and is powered by a Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-68 that develops 1,600 shp.

The avionics are provided by Rockwell Collins in the form of the touchscreen Pro Line Fusion system, which supports a digital head-up display. Calidus is performing the missionization of the system and will handle further updates, drawing on Fusion’s open systems architecture.

For the ISR/light attack mission the B-250 is fitted with an electro-optic turret and can carry a range of weapons on its seven hardpoints. The example in the static display is being shown with GPS-guided bombs from Tawazun Dynamics, the LIG Nex1 LOGIR imaging infrared precision rocket and DS-16 smart munition. Avibras Skyfire-70 and Equipaer 70-mm rocket pods are also on show.

A second B-250 is taking part in the daily air display.

Alongside the B-250 is the T-Xc Sovi basic trainer aircraft, which is also a Novaer design, first flying in Brazil in 2015. The side-by-side aircraft has a pressurized cabin that permits a service ceiling of 25,000 feet, and it can be powered by either piston or turboprop powerplants. Novaer designed the aircraft with an aim of providing a successor to the Brazilian air force’s aging T-25 Universal and T-27 Tucano fleets.