The Embraer EMB 314 Super Tucano is a Brazilian turboprop light attack aircraft. The A-29 Super Tucano carries a wide variety of weapons, including precision-guided munitions, and was designed to be a low-cost system operated in low-threat environments.
The A-29 is turboprop light attack aircraft designed and built by Embraer which has been helping the Afghan Air Force battle insurgents for many years in Afghanistan. It has received rave reviews regarding its performance in theater as a platform that can support ground troops fighting enemies or insurgents.
US-trained pilots with the Afghan Air Force have been attacking the Taliban with A-29 Super Tucano aircraft, a platform that seems well-suited for the Air Force’s intended mission scope.
Here’s Why U.S. Special Forces Would Love the A-29 Super Tucano
Its integrated weapons and laser-firing technology enable the platform to both lay down suppressive fire in support of advancing infantry and pinpoint targets for precision strikes. This mission envelope seems to enable a wide sphere of operational possibilities, including counterinsurgency and great power challenges.
A-29s are turboprop planes armed with one 20mm cannon below the fuselage able to shoot 650 rounds per minute, one 12.7mm machine gun (FN Herstal) under each wing, and up to four 7.62mm Dillion Aero M134 Miniguns able to shoot up to 3,000 rounds per minute.
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Super Tucanos are also equipped with 70mm rockets, air-to-air missiles such as the AIM-9L Sidewinder, air-to-ground weapons such as the AGM-65 Maverick, and precision-guided bombs. It can also use a laser rangefinder and laser-guided weapons.
Here is a video of A-29 Super Tucano Attack Aircraft In Action – Live Fire Training
The Super Tucano is a highly maneuverable light attack aircraft able to operate in high temperatures and rugged terrain. It is 11.38 meters long and has a wingspan of 11.14 meters; its maximum takeoff weight is 5,400 kilograms. The aircraft has a combat radius of 300 nautical miles, can reach speeds up to 367 mph and hits ranges up to 720 nautical miles. Its range of 300 nautical miles positions the aircraft for effective attacks within urban environments or other more condensed combat circumstances.
There are a variety of respects in which A-29s can change the equation when it comes to counterinsurgency. First and foremost, they can save lives. If overhead fire support is able to identify and attack pockets of enemy fighters, fewer ground troops have to enter into enemy fire. Also, an overhead asset of this kind can be an intelligence node able to send targeted information and data regarding troop movements.
When it comes to actual close-in counterinsurgency combat, fighters often obscure themselves in defilade or in buildings, requiring a need for precision strikes. The air-ground Maverick precision weapon can use a laser rangefinder and other kinds of advanced targeting technologies – providing what could be called an indispensable element of attack support. Naturally, advancing ground forces can benefit from air support while advancing on enemies for direct targeting or suppressive fire to enable forces to maneuver.