STATUS: Active, In-Service
MANUFACTURER(S): Embraer - Brazil
OPERATORS: Angola; Argentina; Brazil; Colombia; Egypt; France; Honduras; Iraq; Iran; Mauritania; Paraguay; Peru; United Kingdom (Short Tucano); Venezuela
LENGTH: 32.32 feet (9.85 meters)
WIDTH: 36.58 feet (11.15 meters)
HEIGHT: 11.15 feet (3.4 meters)
WEIGHT (EMPTY): 3,990 pounds (1,810 kilograms)
WEIGHT (MTOW): 7,000 pounds (3,175 kilograms)
ENGINE: 1 x Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-25C turboprop engine developing 750 horsepower.
SPEED (MAX): 286 miles-per-hour (460 kilometers-per-hour; 248 knots)
RANGE: 1,190 miles (1,915 kilometers; 1,034 nautical miles)
CEILING: 28,707 feet (8,750 meters; 5.44 miles)
RATE-OF-CLIMB: 1,900 feet-per-minute (579 meters-per-minute)
Detailing the development and operational history of the Embraer EMB-312 Tucano Basic Trainer / Light Attack Aircraft.
Entry last updated on 7/9/2018.
Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com.
Brazilian defense industry suffers what most mid-sized military powers suffer - a heavy reliance on foreign products to satisfy local requirements. In recent decades, the South American nation has joined others like China, India and Turkey in nurturing local design, development and production of such systems to eliminate the need for foreign dependency. In 1969, this movement led to the formation of state-owned Embraer and the company began by producing the Italian Aermacchi MB-326 advanced jet trainer under license - this experience proved fruitful as it led to an expansion of capabilities for the brand which, today, includes production of indigenous light aircraft, large aircraft and business jets.
The EBM-312 "Tucano" would go on to become one of the company's greatest achievements on the global stage - its first true commercial success. The aircraft was backed by the Brazilian Air Force in a 1978 initiative which produced a prototype first-flight on August 16th, 1980. The versatile aircraft could be used in both basic training and light attack roles and the service liked what it saw to commit to a first-batch of 118 aircraft with an option for 50 further units. First deliveries commenced in September of 1983 and another ten aircraft were added in 1990 (the last forty of the original option was also eventually exercised).
At its core, the Tucano was built around proven qualities common to many basic trainers already on the world stage. A lightweight design was chosen that featured low-mounted, straight wing mainplanes, a nose-mounted engine, tandem seating under a long, unobstructed canopy and a traditional single-finned tail unit. The undercarriage was wholly retractable and of a tricycle arrangement. The compact aircraft proved robust enough to mount external munitions (or fuel tanks) under its wings for the training or attack roles.
Dimensions included a length of 32.3 feet, a wingspan of 36.5 feet and a height of 11 feet. Empty weight was 4,000lb against an MTOW of 7,000lb. Power was from a single Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-25C turboprop engine developing 750 horsepower and driving a three-bladed propeller unit at the nose. Performance specs included a maximum speed of 285 miles per hour, a range out to 1,200 miles, a service ceiling up to 28,700 feet and a rate-of-climb nearing 1,900 feet-per-minute.
Globally, the Tucano went on to become a customer favorite as it was taken on by the air services of Angola, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Egypt, Honduras, Iran, Mauritania, Paraguay, Peru and Venezuela (former operators include both France and Iraq). The Brazilian Air Force expects to withdraw and replace its fleet of Tucanos sometime in the early 2020s. Total production of Tucanos reached 624 units during the span of 1980 to 1996.
Variants of the line began with the base EMB-312A form and these followed the YT-27 pre-series aircraft. The T-27 was its basic trainer model and the AT-27 became the dedicated light attack form. The follow-up EMB-312F was a more powerful design developed specifically for the French Air Force. The EMB-312S became a local British-built version (known as the Short Tucano by Short Brothers) and was powered by a Honeywell TPE331-12B engine and fitted with minor improvements. The T.Mk 1 was ordered by the British Royal Air Force (RAF) while the Mk.51 was purchased by Kenya and the Mk.52 by Kuwait.
The EMB-312G1 existed as a prototype only and outfitted with a Garrett engine. Another abandoned effort was the EMB-312H sponsored by Northrop Grumman for possible sale to the USAF - it did not succeed.
The Embraer EMB-314 (A-29) "Super Tucano" is an advanced version of the original Tucano platform and has been developed as a basic trainer and attack / counter-insurgency aircraft. Over two-hundred of this variant have been built to date (2017) and a key operator is the rebuilding Afghanistan Air Force which has ordered 20 units. The Brazilian Air Force itself has a fleet of 99 of the type and the model is challenging the ongoing USAF basic trainer competition.
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General Assessment (BETA)
Rating: 46 (of 100)
The rating is an internal assessment derived from 60 total factors pertaining to this aircraft.
Relative Maximum Speed Rating
This entry's maximum listed speed (286mph).
Graph average of 225 miles-per-hour.
Graph showcases the Embraer EMB-312 Tucano's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production Comparison
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units