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Close Air Support Aircraft (Phase 1) Acquisition Project of the Philippine Air Force

 The Philippine Air Force (PAF) raised a requirement for six (6) Close Air Support aircraft that will replace ageing assets, and position to be the PAF's standard CAS aircraft by 2020 and beyond.

The aircraft, which will be assigned with the PAF's 15th Strike Wing, will be used to provide close air support to ground and naval forces, direct airstrike against fixed and mobile targets, and provide a secondary role of surveillance and patrol over in support of the AFP's overall requirements.

While the requirement only calls for six aircraft, this acquisition is considered to be the first batch as the PAF plans to request for more units to meet a requirement of having twenty four (24) aircraft by 2028 to initially replace the Aermacchi SF-260TP armed trainer aircraft, and eventually the Rockwell International OV-10A/C Bronco light attack aircraft.

One of the A-29B Super Tucano bound for the PAF as seen in Luqa, Malta. Photo shared to MaxDefense by Ruben Zammit, who also is credited for the photo.

Project Summary:

Close Air Support Aircraft (Phase 1)Acquisition Project:

Note: Edited as of 15 October 2020.

* End User: Philippine Air Force (15th Strike Wing)

Quantity: 6 aircraft

* Modernization Phase:
 Horizon 1 Phase of RAFPMP

* Project ABC:

Acquisition Mode: Public Bidding

* Source of Funding: GAA Funds through AFP Modernization Program Trust Fund, to be paid via Multi-Year Obligation Authority (MYOA) process.

* SARO Release/s:

    - SARO-BMB-D-17-0015476 dated 25 September 2017 (1st tranche payment) worth Php730,889,700.00, released 25 September 2017;
    - SARO-BMB-D-19-0003657 dated 16 May 2019 (final tranch) worth Php4,141,708,300.00, released 17 May 2019.

* Winning Proponent:
 Embraer S.A. (Brazil)

Product for Delivery: Embraer EMB-412 (A-29B) Super Tucano

* Contract Price: Php4,872,598,000.00

* First post by MaxDefense: 11 July 2013

* MaxDefense Searching Hashtag: #PAFCASAcquisition #PAFA29BSuperTucano

* Status: 
for delivery starting November 2019 (first batch) to early 2020 (complete delivery). Delays in delivery encountered, including several more delays due to COVID-19. All 6 aircraft left Brazil for delivery to the Philippines in late August 2020. Arrival in the Philippines expected by 19 September 2020. All 6 aircraft inducted to 16th Attack Squadron, 15th Strike Wing on 14 October 2020. PROJECT COMPLETED.

Project Technical Requirements:

The DND released some important information on the specification of the aircraft, which was said to be loosely based on the specifications of the Embraer EMB-314 Super Tucano. This include the following details:

Quantity: 6 brand new, factory new aircraft, fully aerobatic
Landing Gears: Retractable 
Flight Capability: Inadvertent Instrument Meteorological Condition (IIMC) and Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) capable;
Cruising Speed: minimum of 220 knots indicated airspeed (KIAS)
Endurance: minimum of 2 hours and thirty minutes (2.5 hrs) at armed configuration at normal cruising speed without auxiliary tanks
Seating Configuration: dual tandem seating
Payload: at least 3,000 lbs, with at least 5 hard points, and at least 600 lbs capacity for each hard point. 
Service Ceiling: at least 25,000 feet
Short Take-off and Landing Capability: maximum 3,000 meters take-off and landing roll @ Maximum Gross Take-off Weight (MTOW)
Power Plant: New turbine engine(s), time between overhaul of at least 3,000 flight hours, suitable for tropical (hot, humid and high altitude environment), restart ability within 15 minutes after shutdown. 
Weapons Systems: all weather capability, capable of multiple munition mix loading, and capacity for 2 50-caliber machine guns either built-in or using gun pods 
Avionics Systems: compatible or better with current data bus MIL-STD 1553
Flight Instrument: 
- Day Visual Flight Rules (DVFR), Night Visual Flight Rules (NVFR), and Instrument Flight Rules (IFR);
- Heads Up Display (HUD) with integrated flight performance, navigation, and weapons targeting and delivery in day and night environment;
- 2 Multi-function Display for front and rear cockpits, 5x7 inches showing aircraft flight performance, navigation, targeting, and tactical mission system display;
- Hands-on Throttle and Stick (HOTAS) for both front and rear cockpits;
Navigation Equipment:
- Basic equipment for IFR flights, brand new and calibrated for sustained high G-forces;
- Global Positioning System/Inertial Navigation System (GPS/INS)
- Digital Moving Map, compatible with Night Vision Goggles (NVG),
- at least 1 unit VOR/ILS;
- at least 1 unit IFF Transponder;
Fire Control System:
- compatible or better with current data bus MIL-STD 1553
-capable of Air to Air, and Air to Ground modes;
- Equipped with EO/IR capable of FLIR, Imaging, and Targeting System, with Laser Designator and Rangefinder, NVG compatible;
Airframe: rated for minimum of 12,000 flight hours
- Zero-Zero ejection seat, with life raft, survival and First Aid Kit, and Emergency Located Transmitter Device per seat
- Front and Rear Cockpit armor plating, ballistic tolerance up to 7.62mm ammunition;
- Jettison-able external stores;
- Equipped with Radar Warning Receiver (RWR) and Missile Alert Warning System (MAWS)
- Equipped with Chaffs and Flares
Environmental System:
- Equipped with On-Board Oxygen Generation Systems (OBOGS),
- Cockpit Temperature Control / Equipment Cooling,
- Anti-G System

The Embraer EMB-412 (A-29B) Super Tucano:

Data from Type Analysis: Embraer Super Tucano (All specifications from Janes 2010–2011)

General characteristics

Crew: Pilot plus one navigator/student in tandem on Martin Baker Mk 10 LCX zero-zero ejection seats
Payload: 1,500 kg (3,307 lb)
Length: 11.38 m (37 ft 4 in)
Wingspan: 11.14 m (36 ft 6.5 in)
Height: 3.97 m (13 ft 0.25 in)
Wing area: 19.4 m2 (208.8 sq ft)
Empty weight: 3,200 kg (7,055 lb)
Max. takeoff weight: 5,400 kg (11,905 lb)
Powerplant: 1 × Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-68C turboprop, 1,196 kW (1,600 shp)
Propellers: Hartzell 5-blade constant speed, fully feathering, reversible-pitch propeller


Maximum speed: 590 km/h (319 knots, 367 mph)
Cruise speed: 520 km/h (281 knots, 323 mph)
Stall speed: 148 km/h (80 knots, 92 mph)
g-limit: +7/-3.5 g)
Range: 720 nmi (827 mi, 1,330 km)
Combat radius: 550 km (300 nmi, 342 mi) (hi-lo-hi profile, 1,500 kg (3,300 lb) of external stores)
Ferry range: 1,541 nmi (1,774 mi, 2,855 km)
Service ceiling: 10,668 m (35,000 ft)
Rate of climb: 16.4 m/s (3,242 ft/min)

Internal: (2×) 12.7 mm (0.50 in) 1,100 rounds per minute FN Herstal M3P machine guns, one in each wing.
pod: 1 20 mm (0.79 in) 650 rounds per minute GIAT M20A1 cannon below the fuselage.
pod: 1 12.7 mm (0.50 in) FN Herstal HMP for M3P machine gun under each wing

Hardpoints: 5 (two under each wing and one under fuselage centreline) with a capacity of 1,550 kg (3,300 lb)
           (4x) pods 70 mm (2.75 in) LM-70/19 (SBAT-70)
           (4x) pods 70 mm (2.75 in) LAU-68A/G
    ** Air-to-air:
           AIM-9L Sidewinder, MAA-1A Piranha, Python 3, Python 4
    ** Air-to-ground:
           AGM-65 Maverick, Roketsan Cirit
    ** General-purpose bombs:
          (10x) Mk 81, (5x) Mk 82, M-117
    ** Precision-guided bombs:
           SMKB-82 – INS/GPS guidance kit for Mk 82., Paveway II, Lizard – Elbit laser guidance kit, Griffin – IAI laser guidance kit.
    ** Others:
           Chaff & Flare (countermeasures), FLIR AN/AAQ-22 Star SAFIRE II (Electro-Optical/Infrared Sensors)

U P D A T E S:

11 July 2013:

MaxDefense released a blog entry discussing the possible replacements for the PAF's fleet of Rockwell OV-10 Bronco light attack aircraft, based on MaxDefense's opinion and information gathered from sources.

This was in light of the anticipated inclusion of a requirement for new close air support aircraft to be included in the Horizon 1 phase shopping list of the Philippine Air Force.

The blog entry can be accessed from the link provided below:

"The PAF OV-10 Replacement - Possible Candidates (2nd of 2 parts)" - first posted 11 July 2013

One of the PAF's OV-10 Bronco, this model previously an OV-10C with the Royal Thai Air Force. Credits to original source of photo.


28 June 2014:

Another blog entry was released by MaxDefense, this time directly related to the PAF's Close Air Support Acquisition Project.

The summary of the technical requirements was also posted (similar to the one above this page) while comparing these to possible candidates for the project like the Super Tucano, the KAI KA-1 Woongbi, Beechcraft AT-6 Wolverine, and the IOMAX Archangel. 

The blog entry can be accessed from the link provided below:

"Updates and Analysis on the Close Air Support Aircraft Project of the Philippine Air Force" - first posted 28 June 2014

The IOMAX Archangel Block 2, which is based on a crop-dusting aircraft. Photo taken from Flight International.


18 April 2015:

As posted on MaxDefense's community social media page:

3 MaxDefense community members, and a Timawa forum member reported of sighting an Embraer A-29 Super Tucano and a Beechcraft AT-6 Texan II at the Villamor Air Base apron. So far no photos to back this post.

This confirms that the PAF's Close Air Support Aircraft project is still moving forward despite the indefinite suspension of the bid submission schedule. Will post photo as soon as it becomes available.


30 December 2016:

As posted on MaxDefense's community social media page:

The Department of National Defense has released a new Invitation to Bid and Bid Documents for the Close Air Support Aircraft (CASA) acquisition project of the Philippine Air Force, which can be found in the DND's Bids and Awards Committee website. 

This project to acquire 6 close air support aircraft has been delayed by several years now and it is surprising that the DND still opted to have this project bided despite having a technical specifications obviously leaning on Embraer's A-29B Super Tucano aircraft. 

Submission and Opening of Bid Envelope (SOBE) is tentatively scheduled on January 27, 2017. Expected bidders may include Embraer, Beechcraft Defense, and KAI.

The Embraer A-29B Super Tucano. Credits to original source of photo.


14 January 2017:

As posted on MaxDefense's community social media page:

The Pre-bid conference for the tender of the Close Air Support Aircraft acquisition project of the Philippine Air Force was done last January 11, 2017. Based on INITIAL AND UNOFFICIAL INFORMATION, it appears that the following aircraft manufacturers sent their representatives to the conference (others might be present but was not verified by the unofficial info):

Embraer - A-29B Super Tucano
Textron Aviation - AT-6 Wolverine
Korea Aerospace Industry - KA-1 Woongbi
Aero Vodochody - L-39NG 
Textron AirLand - Scorpion

The presence of these companies still surprises MaxDefense despite the PAF crafting the specifications very closely after the A-29B Super Tucano, which appears to be the early favourite to win the project. Several factors, including payload, onboard equipment, armouring requirements, endurance, and pool of current users affect the bid of several of the companies listed in pushing their products, which MaxDefense sees as very favourable to Embraer.

Top: Embraer A-29B Super Tucano. Credits to Airliners.net for the photo. Above: KAI KA-1 Woongbi. Taken from KAI's website.


09 May 2017:

As posted on MaxDefense's community social media page:

According to our sources, three aircraft manufacturers remain as the expected biddders for the Philippine Air Force's Close Air Support (CAS) Aircraft acquisition project, based on their attendance in the recently concluded Pre-Bid Conference. These are: Aero Vodochody of Czech Republic with their L-39NG, Embraer of Brazil with their EMB-314 Super Tucano, and Textrom Aviation-Beechcraft with the AT-6 Wolverine.

Submission and Opening of Bid Envelopes (SOBE) is still scheduled on May 24, 2017.

From top to bottom: Aero Vodochody L-39NG, Embraer A-29B Super Tucano, and Beechcraft AT-6 Wolverine. Credits to original sources of these photos.


13 June 2017:

As posted on MaxDefense's community social media page:

December 2019: A typical morning to start the day with the Philippine Air Force's 15th Strike Wing. The sun rises at the wing's new home at Lumbia Air Base, as the fixed wing OV-10 Broncos and A-29 Super Tucanos, and rotary wing AW-109 Power close air support assets are prepped up for the new day.

This is how it would probably look like 2 years from now. Photo credited to MaxDefense sources.


13 June 2017:

MaxDefense releases a blog entry on the CAS Acquisition Project, to update on the recently completed bid opening wherein Embraer was declared the Sole Compliant Bidder pending the settlement of Motion for Reconsideration of Beechcraft after being disqualified for document issues on eligibility.

The blog entry can be accessed from the link provided below:

"Embraer Advances in Philippine Air Force's Close Air Support Aircraft Acquisition Project (Horizon 1)" - first posted on 13 June 2017

 Photo taken from Colombian Defense Forum @ webinfomil.com. 


13 July 2017:

As posted on MaxDefense's community social media page:

Post Qualification inspections on Embraer are now ongoing in Brazil after the aircraft manufacturer was declared the single lowest compliant bidder for the Philippine Air Force's Close Air Support Aircraft acquisition under the Revised AFP Modernization Program Horizon 1 phase.

Should Embraer pass the PQ, we expect a Notice of Award to be provided to Embraer, and negotiations towards signing a contract and can proceed. Being the only compliant bidder, Embraer should pass this process to avoid further delays in the project.

Embraer offered the A-29 Super Tucano, in which 6 will be acquired under this phase to complement and replace the ageing OV-10 Broncos of the 15th Strike Wing. Deliveries are expected to start by 2019.

The Embraer A-29B Super Tucano. Credits to original source of photo.


16 November 2017:

As posted on MaxDefense's community social media page:

The Philippine Air Force is hoping that the contract signing for the Close Air Support Aircraft acquisition project between the Department of National Defense and Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer SA would happen within the month, with Embraer to supply the PAF with 6 EMB-314 Super Tucano aircraft.

Industry sources pointed out to MaxDefense that Embraer was actually hoping the contract to be signed before the Dubai Airshow 2017, which opened several days ago, as the finalization for a new order from the PAF could have been good advertising for Embraer's Super Tucano aircraft as they showcase it to the competitive Middle East defense market. Too bad the delay came from the DND's side, again.


01 December 2017:

As posted on MaxDefense's community social media page:

Despite getting this news last night, we intentionally held it first to get a first hand confirmation from our sources.

Defense Sec. Delfin Lorenzana finally signed the contract for the acquisition of 6 Embraer Super Tucano to fulfil the Philippine Air Force's Close Air Support Aircraft acquisition project as included in the AFP Modernization Program's Horizon 1 phase. More will be acquired, with the PAF requesting for 18 more under the Horizon 2 phase.

MaxDefense expects the delivery of this batch to start in 2019 although Embraer may opt to deliver earlier if they can.

Photo taken from Embraer's website.


27 September 2018:

As posted on MaxDefense's community social media page:

Brazilian aerospace company Embraer participated in ADAS 2018, showcasing their new KC-390 tactical transport aircraft, Super Tucano attack aircraft, and their line of business jets.

A community member was able to speak to their representative, confirming that the 6 Super Tucano aircraft ordered by the Philippine Air Force will start delivery by 3Q 2019. Also, Embraer is hopeful that the plan by the PAF to acquire 18 more units will push through, which MaxDefense believes will happen in the Horizon 3 phase to fully replace the PAF's OV-10 and SF-260 fleet of attack aircraft.

Interesting discussion on KC-390, which the Embraer representative confirmed as being competitive to Lockheed Martin's C-130J Super Hercules in terms of payload, performance, and operating and sustainment costs. And since it uses a lot of parts from existing Embraer business jets, they claim that local maintenance hubs like those of Lufthansa Technik will have no problem in maintenance works.

No confirmation though if Embraer is offering their business jets to the PAF for the VIP/Command & Control Aircraft to replace the ageing Fokker F.28 of the 250th Presidential Airlift Wing.

Thanks to MaxDefense community member Benedict Exconde for sharing these photos and info to us! Thanks also to another MaxDefense community member for providing additional information!

Embraer's posted at ADAS 2018. Photo credits to MaxDefense community member Benedict Exconde.


 31 May 2019:

As posted on MaxDefense's community social media page:

As MaxDefense has been saying for almost a year now, the six Embraer A-29B Super Tucano ordered by the DND for the Philippine Air Force are expected to arrive starting November 2019.

The Super Tucano is the fruit of the PAF's Close Air Support Aircraft Acquisition Project under the Horizon 1 phase of RAFPMP, and are expected to replace the 15th Strike Wing's Aermacchi SF-260TP armed trainers.

So far, no additional CAS aircraft are planned for purchase in the current Horizon 2 phase.

An infographic on the upcoming A-29B Super Tucano for the Philippine Air Force, as displayed in the 15th Strike Wing's base in Cavite. Photo exclusively shared to MaxDefense by one of our source.


05 June 2019:

As posted on MaxDefense's community social media page:

From Inquirer's Frances Mangosing on her cover of the PAF Air Force Symposium 2019 yesterday, wherein she got Embraer to confirm the delivery of the first batch of A-29B Super Tucano close air support aircraft, which is said to be before the end of the year, while the rest will be in 2020. The planes will be brought in by Brazilian Air Force pilots.

Based on a PAF info-graphic provided to MaxDefense and posted a few days ago, it was mentioned that the aircraft start deliveries by November 2019.

Photo taken from Ms. Frances Mangosing's Twitter page. Credits owned by Ms. Mangosing.


11 October 2019:
So the buzz going around the Philippine Air Force is indeed true. As early as August, there were already information going around that Embraer may not be able to meet its commitment to deliver the first batch of A-29B Super Tucano close air support aircraft to the PAF by November 2019, and will instead start in February 2020.

Now its confirmed - Embraer will only start delivery by February 2020 as confirmed by the the Department of National Defense yesterday.

The acquisition of the A-29B Super Tucano was made under the Close Air Support Acquisition Project of the PAF, which is Horizon 1 phase Priority Project.

An A-29B Super Tucano undergoing trials in the US in dropping Paveway II bombs. Credits to original source of photo.


17 October 2019:

And this, ladies and gentlemen, is one of the reasons why the Super Tucano deliveries for the Philippine Air Force was moved - the wing-mounted M3P 12.7mm heavy machine guns. Each Super Tucano has two of these.

Guess why.


05 November 2019:
The photos below were taken on 04 November 2019 in Brazil, most likely undergoing flight test is one of the A-29B Super Tucano bound for the Philippine Air Force.

Not much info was provided although its presence means that Embraer is starting preparations for the delivery soon. The PAF previously announced that deliveries was moved, and will instead start on February 2020.

Taken by and credited to Leonardo Santana.

PAF A-29B Super Tucano undergoing flight tests in Brazil. Photo credited to Leonardo Santana.


26 November 2019:

MaxDefense received some updates on some projects of the Philippine Air Force.

First of, the PAF's 15th Strike Wing will have its anniversary celebrations today at Danilo Atienza Air Base in Sangley Point, Cavite.

Speaking of which, let's discuss something about the PAF's upcoming new asset, the Embraer A-29B Super Tucano which are scheduled to arrive starting early 2020. This is an edit from an earlier post which was corrected by sources:


Exclusive @ MaxDefense Philippines:

We received confirmation that the paint scheme of the PAF's new fleet of Embraer A-29B Super Tucanos will be the same as the one we saw posted by a plane spotter in Brazil a few weeks ago. So it is only missing the serial numbers and PAF logo.

Top photo is APPROVED AND FINAL paint scheme, and is already an actual PAF aircraft. Bottom photo was PROPOSED AND REJECTED paint scheme. Bottom photo is not an actual PAF aircraft.

The paint scheme based on light gray similar to the ones used by the PAF's FA-50PH Fighting Eagle was among those considered but in the end it was agreed that a darker paint scheme with camouflage pattern is still needed considering the aircraft is expected to operate in both day and night. This is said to be more effective especially for night operations.

Another reason was to maintain similarity to other fixed-wing assets of the 15th Strike Wing, which may also change their paint scheme to the new ones sported by the Super Tucano.

Shark's mouth nose paint will remain.

While the light gray scheme is said to be better, the darker in camo scheme actually looks better than what is seen on the photo below (which was taken by a Brazilian plane spotter using a mobile phone camera) when seen closer and clearer.

Pardon for the confusion from earlier. We just wanted to make sure that we pass on the right information to our readers.


12 July 2020:

MaxDefense has released a blog entry discussing the arrival of several new air assets including the Embraer A-29B Super Tucano close air support aircraft for the Philippine Air Force.

The blog entry can be accessed through the link below:

"Philippine Air Force set to receive delivery of several new air and ground assets within 2020" - first posted on 13 July 2020.

The aircraft were originally meant to start delivery by late 2019 for the first batch of three (3) aircraft, and the second batch by early 2020. But Embraer encountered issues and requested for time extension that will allow them to start delivery by February 2020, which the DND allowed.

The DND has announced in a press release last week that the aircraft are expected to be delivered to the PAF by 29 July 2020 based on the same status report as mentioned on the C-130 thread above. But MaxDefense has doubts on this since we received information from PAF and foreign sources that 2 countries that were supposed to provide transit to the 6 aircraft have declined on the transit plans.

A-29B Super Tucanos of the Afghan Air Force. Photo credits to the US Air Force.

The aircraft were supposed to have their 2nd technical stop in Marrakech, Morocco, but the Moroccan authorities have only allowed a fuel stop and not an overnight stay for the pilots. Meanwhile MaxDefense also received info the India, which was supposed to be the flight's 6th stop, also declined although it is still unclear if they declined a stop or an overnight stay for the pilots.

If these stops were declined, it would push back the delivery date by a few days at best, although MaxDefense is still hoping that these countries would provide solutions to allow the pilots involved in the delivery to rest.

An A-29B Super Tucano of the Colombian Air Force. Credits to original source of photo.

MaxDefense also wondered why Embraer did not allow for a delivery using large transport aircraft like those Antonovs used during delivery of other air assets to the PAF. MaxDefense sources confirmed that the contract cost did not allow for this, which is said to be more expensive than flying the 6 aircraft halfway around the world.

Another issue that remains to be seen is the availability of the wing-mounted internal machine guns, which are originally from Belgium's FN Herstal. Last year MaxDefense received confirmation from sources that this is one of Embraer's problems since the Philippines has been imposed with an arms sales restriction by the Belgian government, specifically the Walloon Region where FN Herstal is based. The Walloon Government is a major shareholder FN Herstal.

It was confirmed to MaxDefense that Embraer would source the machine guns from somewhere else, although it may not be delivered with the aircraft should deliveries proceed in late 2019 and early 2020. But since the delays pushed the delivery of all aircraft to July-August 2020, it is possible that the machine guns were already acquired and installed on the aircraft.

The aircraft will be operated by the 16th Attack Squadron, 15th Strike Wing, which is now operating the SF-260TP armed trainers. It previously operated the OV-10 Bronco, but apparently a switch was made between the 2 squadrons, literally all members of each squadron as well as their assets were switched. 

The new Super Tucanos will be assigned together with the SF-260TP Warrior armed trainers of the 16th Attack Squadron (formerly 17th Attack Squadron). Photo credits to Philippine Air Force,

As explained to MaxDefense, the 16th Attack Squadron now operates all single-engine fixed wing attack aircraft, so the A-29Bs and SF-260TPs would be combined, while the OV-10s being twin engine aircraft are re-assigned to the 17th Attack Squadron. Eventually the SF-260TP armed trainers will be relegated to combat training roles, while the OV-10 Broncos will be retired most likely between 2022 to 2024, as the PAF plans to acquire more A-29B Super Tucano aircraft in the future.

The aircraft to be delivered will have the following temporary serial numbers: PT-ZZU, PT-ZZS, PT-ZZQ, PT-ZZO, PT-ZZN, and PT-ZZM


17 July 2020:

MaxDefense received confirmation from a foreign source that the Morocco leg of the transit of the Super Tucano aircraft from Brazil to the Philippines may already been settled. The only remaining question is whether India, which is another leg of the trip, has allowed for the landing and overnight stay of the group before heading off to Southeast Asia.

So far, it is still possible for the aircraft to reach Clark Air Base in Pampanga by 29 July 2020 although we still have our reservations.


29 August 2020:

Finally a clear photo of the 1st flight of 3 Embraer A-29B Super Tucano close air support aircraft for the Philippine Air Force, apparently this photo is while the aircraft are still in Brazil. 

Note the paint scheme especially the famous shark's face.

Photo shared to MaxDefense by aviation photographer and MaxDefense community member Ruben Zammit.


31 August 2020:

MaxDefense received confirmation from source that all six Embraer A-29B Super Tucano have departed Recife Airport in eastern Brazil yesterday 1200H Zulu time, and has arrived safely in Fernando de Noronha, a Brazilian oceanic archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean. 

This is their first stop outside Brazilian mainland, before they depart Brazilian soil for their first foreign stop.

The photos below confirm all 6 Super Tucanos, with temporary tail numbers PT-ZZU, PT-ZZS, PT-ZZN, PT-ZZQ, PT-ZZO and PT-ZZM departing Recife Airport yesterday.

Credits to Brazilian aviation photographer Rodrigo Bertolli for the photos of all 6 aircraft below.


06 September 2020:

The 6 Embraer A-29B Super Tucano light attack aircraft bound for the Philippine Air Force are seen here as they arrived in Gran Canaria, Spanish Canary Islands off the coast of northwest Africa., after coming in from a more than 2 hours flight from Cape Verde.

Their next stop will be in Alverca do Ribatejo in Portugal (which appears to have replaced Malaga, Spain) before they proceed to Luqa, Malta.

Photo above taken from and credited to Spanish planespotter Antonio Rodriguez.


08 September 2020:

The Embraer A-29B Super Tucano light attack aircraft bound for the Philippine Air Force has departed Gran Canaria in the Canary Islands, and reached Alverca do Ribatejo just outside Lisbon, Portugal on 07 September 2020 (08 September in Philippines and Australia).

The photos below shows two of the six aircraft, PT-ZZM and PT-ZZN, as they land in Portugal. 

Photos are taken from and credited to Portugese planespotter Goncalo Guimaraes, c/o Jetphotos.com.


11 September 2020:

Here's an excellent set of photos from aviation photographer and MaxDefense community member Ruben Zammit, as the first batch of 3 A-29B Super Tucano light attack aircraft for the Philippine Air Force arrived in Luqa, Malta a few hours ago.

These 3 aircraft will be leaving Malta for Sharm el Sheik, Egypt in the next 9 hours.

Meanwhile, another batch of 3 Super Tucanos will arrive in Malta from Portugal later today, if plans go through as scheduled.

All photos owned and credited to Maltese aviation photographer and MaxDefense Philippines community member Ruben Zammit.


13 September 2020:

All 6 A-29B Super Tucano light attack aircraft bound for the Philippine Air Force have arrived in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, after coming in from Sharm El Sheik, Egypt.

From Dubai, the 6 Super Tucanos will continue their journey and proceed to Ahmedabad, India, as the transit comes closer and closer to the Philippines.

Photos above are from one of our community members working in Dubai. Credits belong to him.


15 September 2020:

Plane Spotters Bangladesh posted these photos of some of the A-29B Super Tucano light attack aircraft bound for the Philippine Air Force, as they arrived in Dhaka, Bangladesh this morning.

This confirms our earlier report on their flight program for today. Surprisingly, it turns out that MaxDefense Philippines  have followers from Bangladesh, with one of Plane Spotters Bangladesh's members asked me this morning on the expected arrival of these planes so they can spot them.

Next flight for tomorrow will be to the former US Air Force B-52 base, now the U-Tapao Airport in Thailand, which currently serves as the Royal Thai Navy's main naval air wing base.


16 September 2020:

The first batch of 3 A-29B Super Tucano light attack aircraft for the Philippine Air Force arrived in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam this afternoon after flying in from U-Tapao Airport in Thailand. It appears that the flight of 6 aircraft was divided again into two groups of 3 aircraft.

With the bad weather condition in the Philippines, MaxDefense believes that its possible for the group to stay in Vietnam a little longer than fly directly to the storm. Thus it is possible that, if poor weather persists  the aircraft will not arrive in Clark Air Base tomorrow.

Credits to Ngoc Tuan through Cafe Ngắm Máy bay for the photos. Thanks to one of our Vietnamese community member for giving us the heads-up!

At the same date, the second batch of three (3) A-29B Super Tucano aircraft arrived in Dhaka, Bangladesh, with Plane Spotters Bangladesh also spotting them on the ground.


19 September 2020:

MaxDefense received word from a community member from Vietnam saying that 4 A-29B Super Tucanos, will temporary serial numbers PT-ZZM, PT-ZZN, PT-ZZO and PT-ZZQ left Tan Son Nhat in Ho Chi Minh City, en route to the Philippines.


14 October 2020:

The Philippine Air Force's 15th Strike Wing has formally accepted the inducted the 6 A-29B Super Tucano light attack aircraft it acquired from Brazil's Embraer, and will now become the unit's premier attack platform with the 16th Attack Squadron.

Defense Sec. Delfin Lorenzana also mentioned the possibility of acquiring 6 more to complete a squadron.

Despite reports saying it would replace the OV-10 Bronco, sources within the PAF confirmed to MaxDefense that the intention was to replace the SF-260TP first, although there are plans to acquire more A-29B Super Tucanos to allow the retirement of the OV-10 Bronco fleet.

Photos credited to Inquirer.net / Frances Mangosing, 

Photos from Frances Mangosing / Inquirer.net

Clearer shots of the A-29B Super Tucano of the Philippine Air Force, clearly showing the cockpit side armor to protect the pilots,, and EO/IR turret for target acquisition and surveillance

It appears that the EO/IR used is the L3Harris Wescam MX-15, which is the same model used in the PAF's Leonardo AW109E helicopter, and Cessna C208B ISR surveillance aircraft. Based on the project's specs, only 3 of the 6 aircraft are equipped with the MX-15 EO/IR turret although the other 3 can be fitted anytime if the PAF purchase additional units. These can be used for guiding laser-guided bombs like the Paveway II and Enhanced Paveway II (both of which are in PAF inventory), and guided rockets like the GATR (which is already in PAF inventory) and the APKWS (still being procured by the PAF).

Also noted are the missing M3P 12.7mm internally-mounted wing machine guns. According to fresh info from a MaxDefense source, the machine guns are sourced from a US licensed manufacturer and will be arriving soon. This confirms that the Belgian arms export restrictions are still in effect as FN Herstal originally supplies these machine guns to Embraer.
Note also the permanent serial numbers, starting with 1901 (formerly PT-ZZM). The logo of the 15th Strike Wing is now visible near the cockpit, while the tail has the PAF's logo and a colored Philippine flag. 

The use of a colored Philippine flag confirms that a camouflaged version of the Philippine flag is still unauthorized, despite it being pushed for use by the AFP. The same reason why soldiers from the Philippine Army and Philippine Marine Corps still have colored Philippine flags in their uniforms in contrast to the uniform's scheme, which they use when deployed abroad. It becomes obvious when they stand beside soldiers from other countries that allowed the use of camouflaged version of their national flags.

Photo credits to Philippine Air Force PIO.


With all 6 Embraer A-29B Super Tucano close support aircraft already delivered and formally inducted with the Philippine Air Force's 16th Attack Squadron, 15th Strike Wing, MaxDefense and Philippine Defense Resource officially consider the Close Air Support Aircraft Acquisition Project of the Philippine Air Force as COMPLETED.

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First edit and release: 01 June 2019
Copyright MaxDefense Philippines / Philippine Defense Resource

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