Embraer and SNC demonstrate Super Tucano to Ghana Air Force

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Embraer and the Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) have demonstrated their A-29 Super Tucano close air support, reconnaissance and trainer aircraft to the Ghana Air Force (GAF), which has for years considered purchasing the type.

The static and flying demonstration took place at Air Force Base Accra on 19 February – it was previously scheduled for 5 December 2023. The Super Tucano (PT-ZTU) was joined by a number of GAF aircraft, including Mi-171 and Z-9 helicopters as well as K-8 jet trainers.

In his welcome address, the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Vice Marshal Frederick Asare Kwasi Bekoe, expressed enthusiasm about the static and flight display, emphasising the importance of acquiring light attack aircraft in the face of increasing terrorism threats within the sub-region.

He added that the partnership with SNC and Embraer was timely, considering the A-29 Super Tucano was a strategic offensive platform to enhance the Ghana Air Force’s deterrent and offensive posture within the sub-region.

“It is our earnest hope at the end of the demonstration that the Super Tucano will be considered high on our decision making for acquisition,” he said.

In his keynote address, the Minister for Defence, Dominic Nitiwul, underscored the importance of prioritising counter-terrorism efforts. He said the Super Tucano presents itself as a suitable aircraft to augment the Ghana Air Force’s capabilities in counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism.

Ghana in June 2015 announced an order for five Super Tucanos, but the contract never went through. The GAF has also considered acquiring half a dozen L-39NG light combat jets from Aero Vodochody.

Embraer has recorded a number of orders for its Super Tucano from African countries, which see it as a low cost light attack aircraft that can also be used as a trainer. The Super Tucano is capable of performing a broad range of missions that include light attack, aerial surveillance and interception, and counter-insurgency.

The Super Tucano is equipped with a variety of sensors and equipment, including an electo-optical/infrared system with laser designator, night vision goggles, secure communications and data-link package.

Armament comprises one .50-caliber machinegun in each wing. Five hardpoints can carry a maximum external load of 1 550 kilograms (3 420 lb). Weapons options include gun pods, bombs, rocket pods, and (on the two outboard stations) air-to-air missiles.