Embraer has demonstrated its A-29 Super Tucano trainer and light attack aircraft in Gabon as part of efforts to sell the aircraft to the West African country.
Gabon’s Defence Ministry said Gabonese Minister of National Defence, Mathias Otounga Ossibadjouo, hosted Embraer in the capital Libreville on 22 June as part of the Super Tucano capabilities demonstration.
During the exhibition, the Super Tucano conducted simulated rocket attacks, showed off its manoeuvrability and conducted a simulated bombing run.
After the demonstration, officials from Embraer held a working session with Gabon’s defence minister in order to explore the possibility of acquiring the type.
The Super Tucano has done well in Africa, and has been sold to half a dozen countries on the continent. Nigeria is currently exploring the possibility of ordering the type.
The most recent order came from Ghana, which ordered five in a sale announced on 19 June 2015. The contract includes logistic support for the operation of these aircraft as well as the set-up of a training system for pilots and mechanics in Ghana that will provide the autonomy of the Ghana Air Force in preparing qualified personnel. The A-29 Super Tucanos will be deployed for advanced training, border surveillance and internal security missions.
The order from Ghana came days after Mali signed a contract for six Super Tucanos on 15 June last year, joining Angola, Burkina Faso, Mauritania and Senegal as African customers.
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.
Angola officially received its first three of six Super Tucanos in July 2013 and is using them for border surveillance, attack and pilot training. Burkina Faso was the first African country to take delivery of a Super Tucano, receiving three aircraft in September 2011 for border patrol missions. In October 2012 Mauritania received its first aircraft, featuring sensor turrets for surveillance duties, although they will also be used for counter-insurgency missions.
In April 2013 Senegal bought three A-29 Super Tucanos as well as a training system for pilots and mechanics.
The A-29 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.