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8 Super Tucanos to Dominican Republic

January 20, 2009

Dominican Super Tucano (Embraer Image Gallery)


Brazil’s EMB-314/AT-27 Super Tucano continues to be the aircraft of choice for Latin American air forces who want to conduct drug interdiction and counterinsurgency missions. Their modern trainer/ counterinsurgency concept is slowly replacing the brilliant but under-appreciated OA-37 Dragonfly in the region. While the US Air Force was quick to throw the aircraft away, Latin American countries have made strenuous efforts to keep their fleets in service. Nevertheless, the Vietnam-era Dragonflys were not cost-effective to modernize, and are simply running out of parts and safe flying hours. The large, ruggedly-built Super Tucano trainers can operate from unimproved airfields.

They come with a pair of M3P .50 caliber machine guns in the wings, the ability to mount surveillance and targeting pods like RAFAEL and Northrop-Grumman’s popular LITENING, and the ability to carry both Sidewinder air-to-air missiles and precision ground attack weapons in place of standard COIN loads like conventional bombs, rocket pods, and gun pods. To date, 63 Super Tucanos have been delivered to Brazil (of 99 ordered) and all 25 to Colombia. Chile recently ordered 12, and Venezuela wanted 36 but the USA intervened to bock the sale. AIR A-37 USAF Museum A-37, USAF Museum (click to view full) Now Embraer confirms the sale of 8 Super Tucano aircraft to the Dominican Republic, which shares an island with Haiti in the Caribbean. Embraer adds that the aircraft will be used for “internal security and border patrol missions, within an operations theater focusing on fighting the drug traffic.” The Fuerza Aerea Dominicana stopped flying its A-37s in 2001, and the Super Tucanos will restock its combat squadron at San Isidro. The contract was finalized at the end of 2008. Mexican freelance journalist Inigo Guevara is a member of the SIPRI Network, and has just finished a book covering Latin America’s jet fighters. He informs DID that the figure mentioned in the Dominican Republic’s press is US$ 93 million, financed by a a loan from Brazil’s National development bank that required 18 months of Congressional debate to approve. Guevara adds that other Super Tucano exports within the region are pending: a 24 plane deal for Ecuador worth up to $280 million, and Guatemala’s intent to buy 6 aircraft.

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