Here is an up-close view of an A-29 Super Tucano aircraft conducting pre-flight ops. The A-29 is a light attack turboprop aircraft designed to operate in high temperature and humidity conditions in extremely rugged terrain.
In 2011, the A-29 Super Tucano was declared the winner of the US Light Air Support contract competition over the Hawker Beechcraft AT-6B Texan II. The contract was cancelled in 2012 citing concerns with the procurement process, but rewon in 2013. Twenty of these light attack aircraft were purchased for the Afghan Air Force.
The first four aircraft arrived in Afghanistan in January 2016, with a further four due before the end of 2016. Combat-ready Afghan A-29 pilots graduated from training at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia, and returned to Afghanistan to represent the first of 30 pilots trained by the 81st Fighter Squadron at Moody AFB. A fleet of 20 A-29s will be in place by 2018, according to a senior U.S. defense official. The Pentagon purchased the Super Tucanos in a $427 million contract with Sierra Nevada Corp. and Embraer, with the aircraft produced at Embraer’s facility on the grounds of Jacksonville International Airport in Jacksonville, Florida. The Afghan Air Force’s A-29 Super Tucanos could soon make their combat debut after the first four aircraft arrived at Hamid Karzai International Airport on January 15, 2016.
The Embraer EMB 314 Super Tucano, also named ALX or A-29, is a turboprop light attack aircraft designed for counter-insurgency, close air support, and aerial reconnaissance missions in low-threat environments, as well as providing pilot training. Designed to operate in high temperature and humidity conditions in extremely rugged terrain, the Super Tucano is highly maneuverable, has a low heat signature, and incorporates fourth-generation avionics and weapons systems to deliver precision-guided munitions.