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.
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).