Embraer Defense and Security has handed the final upgraded F-5EM Tiger II fighter aircraft to the Brazilian Air Force (FAB) at Santa Cruz Air Force Base in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
This delivery forms part of the F-5BR modernisation programme contract received by the company for the upgrading of the first batch of 46 F-5E/F aircraft in 2000.
Re-designated as F-5EM and F-5FM, the upgraded aircraft are equipped with advanced electronic warfare systems, targeting and self-defence systems, SELEX Grifo F radar, INS/GPS-based navigation and air-to-air refuelling systems, as well as greater operational capabilities, extending its service life by at least 15 more years.
Additional features include hands on throttle-and-stick (HOTAS), helmet mounted displays (HMDs), radar warning receiver, encrypted communications, cockpit compatibility for night vision goggles, on-board oxygen generation system (OBOGS) and several other new onboard computer upgrades.
The aircraft is also capable of establishing secure communication with FAB’s R-99 airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft and ground stations.
Embraer also secured an undisclosed contract for modernisation of a second batch of additional 11 aircraft, along with delivery of one more flight simulator to the air force in April 2011.
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Acquired by FAB from Jordan in 2009, the aircraft will receive the same configuration as those of first batch fighters, and are scheduled for delivery in 2013.
Upgraded F-5E fighters are operated by fighter squadrons based in Rio de Janeiro, Manaus and Canoas, Brazil.
Powered by two General Electric J85-GE-21B turbojet engines, the F-5 Tiger II is a single-seat, supersonic fighter aircraft designed to conduct air-to-ground and air-to-air operations.
The aircraft is an upgraded version of the Northrop Grumman F-5A Freedom fighter aircraft, while it is also operated by the US Navy and the Republic of Korea Air Force.
Image: A Brazilian Air Force F-5M Tiger fighter conducting an aerial refuelling mission. Photo courtesy of Brazilian Air Force (FAB).