MELBOURNE, Australia — Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer has announced a firm order of six A-29 Super Tucano light-attack and advanced training aircraft for the Philippine Air Force.
The Southeast Asian nation, which is battling several insurgencies including against Islamic State-linked militants on several islands in the south of the country, had named Embraer as the sole compliant bidder for its close-air support aircraft requirement under the first stage of its Horizon modernization program in early June.
The order makes the Philippines the second Southeast Asian user of the Super Tucano after Indonesia. According to Thursday’s news release from Embraer, deliveries of the aircraft will be concluded in 2019. The value of the contract was not announced.
“We are honored to be selected by the Philippine Air Force, our second operator in the Asia-Pacific region, and with the confidence expressed by our customer,” said Jackson Schneider, president and CEO of Embraer Defense & Security.
Embraer says the A-29 can be used for tactical and advanced training as well as light-attack missions and advertises the aircraft as being certified for more than 150 weapons configurations and equipped with advanced electronic, electro-optic, infrared and laser system technologies.
The A-29 had beaten out competition from Beechcraft’s AT-6B Texan II Wolverine, which sources in the Philippines said was disqualified due to technical issues with the bid. The A-29s will replace the country’s Rockwell OV-10 Bronco and the SIAI-Marchetti SF-260TP light-attack aircraft currently in service.
Both types have recently been heavily engaged against Islamic State-linked Maute militants in the city of Marawi, which was only declared cleared of the militants in late October.
The Philippine Air force has an eventual requirement for 24 aircraft, and sources in the Philippines have said the country’s Department of National Defense has submitted plans to acquire the remainder under the second phase of the Horizon modernization plan.