Second A-1M prototype undergoing refurbishing at Embraer's AMX upgrading line. Photo: Silva Lopes

The prototype of the upgraded AMX, designated A-1M flew today for the first time. The first flight was the kickoff mark for the aircraft’s flight test campaign. The A-1M program provides for refurbishing and upgrading of 43 FAB AMX subsonic fighters. Ten aircraft are already at the Company’s facilities, the first of two prototypes has already been completed and the company plans the first deliveries for 2013. Brazil’s Aeronautics Commander, Air Force General Juniti Saito, and senior officers from the Brazilian Air Force (FAB) attended the first flight at Embraer’s manufacturing plant in Gavião Peixoto, in outstate São Paulo, Brazil.

AIL is providing the avionics used in the cockpit of the modernized A-1M. These systems reflect high commonality with other modernized FAB fighters, including the F-5M and A-29. Photo: Silva Lopes, FAB

“The A-1Ms are receiving modern systems that are similar to those already found on the F-5M and A-29 aircraft. All of the upgrades and acquisitions are aligned with the objectives of the Aeronautics Strategic Military Planning (PEMAER)” said Aeronautics Commander, Air Force General Juniti Saito. PEMAER positions the FAB’s future growth based on medium- and long-term studies – aligned with Brazil’s National Defense Policy (PND) and National Defense Strategy (END) highlighting benefit for the nation’s industry and technology base. To offer the highest benefit, upgrade programs are sharing common avionics, contributing to better commonality in instrument orientation and pilots training. “This commonality is providing a level of standardization that comes with numerous operational advantages, such as improving the employment doctrine of the FAB and a better yield in terms of flight hours.” General Saito added.

The first flight of the A-1M coincided with the delivery of the delivery of the 99th and final A-29 Super Tucano light attack turboprop to the FAB. In December 2003 the FAB became the launch customer for Embraer’s Super Tucano, under the AL-X program. The aircraft is currently used for advanced pilot training and carries out important functions in the Amazon Surveillance System (SIVAM). The A-29 Super Tucano has been chosen by ten customers in Africa, the Americas and Asia-Pacific.

The first A-1M prototype completed, awaiting the first flight. Photo: Silva Lopes, FAB

Embraer has also delivered the last two F-5M fighters, concluding the first batch modernization of FAB F-5 fighters to be delivered to the Air Force. The F-5M program covers the refurbishing and upgrading of 46 supersonic fighters. In December 2010, a new contract was signed to upgrade 11 additional F-5 aircraft, with the work beginning on the first jet in October 2012. The first deliveries of this second group are planned for 2013. Each F-5E/F aircraft receive new navigation systems, weaponry, computers, and multimodal radar. This equipment, as well as structural repairs, increases the operational capability of the fighters for at least fifteen more years.

The A-1M upgrading line at Embraer's manufacturing plant in Gavião Peixoto near Sao Paolo, Brazil. Photo: Silva Lopes, FAB
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