The Philippine Air Force (PAF) said all of its six Embraer A-29B “Super Tucano” attack aircrafts are now fully operational. This came as one of these planes that sustained damage during a “routine maintenance check flight” last year and is now repaired and operational. The damaged aircraft was made “fully operational” during the third quarter of this year. The spare parts needed for the repairs arrived much earlier and were immediately installed, bringing the damaged “Super Tucano” into service which was then subjected into a series of tests before its deployment. Deliveries of these items were affected by the slowdown caused by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. The spare parts were provided by Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer.
The Philippine Air Force considered the acquisition of six A-29B Super Tucano aircraft to replace the aging OV-10 Bronco. In late 2017, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana signed the contract for the acquisition of 6 Embraer Super Tucano to fulfill the Close Air Support Aircraft acquisition project as included in the AFP Modernization Program’s Horizon 1 phase. On 13 October 2020, six A-29B Super Tucanos were turned over to the PAF. They were inducted with the 16th Attack Squadron, 15th Strike Wing. By 2024 the airforce intends to operate 24 aircraft, which can equip two squadrons. 12 aircraft are to be delivered by 2022, and six by 2024. This will allow the airforce to use them in the close air support, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, and light attack missions.
The Embraer A-29 Super Tucano (English: Super Toucan), also named EMB 314 or ALX, is a Brazilian turboprop light attack aircraft designed and built by Embraer as a development of the Embraer EMB 312 Tucano. It is powered by a more powerful 1,600 shp (1,200 kW) Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-68C engine (compared to the EMB-312’s 750 shp (560 kW) powerplant) The A-29 Super Tucano carries a wide variety of weapons, including precision-guided munitions, and was designed to be a low-cost system operated in low-threat environments.In addition to its manufacture in Brazil, Embraer has set up a production line in the United States in conjunction with Sierra Nevada Corporation for the manufacture of A-29s to export customers.
The Embraer A-29 Super Tucano has a strengthened airframe to sustain higher g loads and increase fatigue life to 8,000–12,000 hours in operational environments; a reinforced landing gear to handle greater takeoff weights and heavier stores load, up to 1,550 kilograms (3,420 lb); Kevlar armour protection; two internal, wing-mounted .50 cal. machine guns (with 200 rounds of ammunition each); capacity to carry various ordnance on five weapon hardpoints including Giat NC621 20 mm cannon pods, Mk 81/82 bombs, MAA-1 Piranha air-to-air missiles (AAMs), BLG-252 cluster bombs, and SBAT-70/19 or LAU-68A/G rocket pods on its underwing stations; and has a night-vision goggle-compatible “glass cockpit” with hands-on-throttle-and-stick (HOTAS) controls; chaff/flare dispensers; missile approach warning receiver systems and radar warning receivers.