The Brazilian Air Force (FAB) has taken delivery of the first upgraded A-1 fighter aircraft from Embraer Defense & Security during a ceremony at the company’s facility in Gaviao Peixoto, in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Around 43 subsonic A-1 fighters are being modernised by the company as part of a contract awarded by FAB in January 2011.
Covering structural overhaul, repair and substitution of the aircraft’s other outdated equipment, the contract complements a previous deal signed in 2003 for modernisation of its electronic systems.
Designated as A-1M, the refurbished aircraft features new navigation systems, weaponry, oxygen generation systems, multimode radar and electronic countermeasures, which together with structural modifications will extend the fighter’s operational life to 2025.
Additional equipment include briefing and debriefing stations to train and enhance proficiency of FAB pilots, which will enable the service to lower operational costs, and achieve greater effectiveness in mission planning and execution.
Brazilian Air Force Aeronautics commander air force general Juniti Saito said the A-1 fighters represents fundamental elements for the country’s national defence, including its territorial coastal waters, and have successfully been used during highly complex operations as the Cruzex and Red Flag exercises.
”Its modernisation presents a big gain in capability, along with adequate cost-benefit, and, once again, it shows the value of the nation’s industry,” Saito said.
Embraer Defense & Security president Luiz Carlos Aguiar said, ”This aircraft will be very useful for maintaining the operational capability of the Brazilian Air Force.”
As part of the company’s modernisation program, the aircraft are fitted with systems similar to those found on FAB’s F-5Ms and the A-29 Super Tucanos, to help pilots during adaptation period, and also provide standardisation with multiple operational advantages, including enhanced fleet management policy, better output in terms of flight hours, as well as reduced maintenance and operating costs.
Embraer is currently upgrading 16 of the total 43 aircraft, which are designed to conduct air-to-ground attack, bombing, tactical air support and reconnaissance missions.
Image: Embraer and Brazilian Air Force officials during the A-1 fighter aircraft hand over ceremony at the company’s facility in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Photo: Copyright 2011 Embraer SA.