Delivery of Mali’s six Super Tucano aircraft from Brazil appears imminent, with the aircraft being seen undergoing test flights in Brazil.
Two aircraft (PT-ZTF and PT-ZTI), in full Malian colours, were seen in late November and early December at Bacacheri Airport in Curitiba, south-eastern Brazil.
Mali signed a contract with Embraer for the aircraft at the Paris Air Show on 15 June 2015. Embraer said the contract includes logistic support for the operation of these aircraft and also provides a training system for pilots and mechanics of the Mali Air Force.
The A-29 Super Tucanos will be deployed for advanced training, border surveillance, and internal security missions.
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. On the continent, the Super Tucano has been ordered by Angola, Burkina Faso, Mauritania and Senegal.
Nigeria is currently exploring the possibility of ordering the type, which was also demonstrated in Gabon in June this year.
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.
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 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.