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Close Air Support Aircraft (Horizon 1) Acquisition Project of the Philippine Air Force

The Philippine Air Force (PAF) raised a requirement for six (6) Close Air Support aircraft that will replace ageing assets, and position to be the PAF's standard CAS aircraft by 2020 and beyond.

The aircraft, which will be assigned with the PAF's 15th Strike Wing, will be used to provide close air support to ground and naval forces, direct airstrike against fixed and mobile targets, and provide a secondary role of surveillance and patrol over in support of the AFP's overall requirements.

While the requirement only calls for six aircraft, this acquisition is considered to be the first batch as the PAF plans to request for more units to meet a requirement of having twenty four (24) aircraft by 2028 to initially replace the Aermacchi SF-260TP armed trainer aircraft, and eventually the Rockwell International OV-10A/C Bronco light attack aircraft.

The Embraer A-29B Super Tucano, this example from the Colombian Air Force.

Project Summary:

Close Air Support Aircraft (Horizon 1)Acquisition Project:

Note: Edited as of 29 June 2019.

* End User: Philippine Air Force (15th Strike Wing)

* Quantity: 6 aircraft

* Modernization Phase:
 Horizon 1 Phase of RAFPMP

* Project ABC:

Acquisition Mode: Public Bidding

* Source of Funding: GAA Funds through AFP Modernization Program Trust Fund, to be paid via Multi-Year Obligation Authority (MYOA) process.

* SARO Release/s:

    - SARO-BMB-D-17-0015476 dated 25 September 2017 (1st tranche payment) worth Php730,889,700.00, released 25 September 2017;
    - SARO-BMB-D-19-0003657 dated 16 May 2019 (final tranch) worth Php4,141,708,300.00, released 17 May 2019.

* Winning Proponent:
 Embraer S.A. (Brazil)

Product for Delivery: Embraer EMB-412 (A-29B) Super Tucano

* Contract Price: Php4,872,598,000.00

* First post by MaxDefense: 11 July 2013

* MaxDefense Searching Hashtag: #PAFCASAcquisition #PAFA29BSuperTucano

* Status: 
for delivery starting November 2019 (first batch) to early 2020 (complete delivery).

Project Technical Requirements:

The DND released some important information on the specification of the aircraft, which was said to be loosely based on the specifications of the Embraer EMB-314 Super Tucano. This include the following details:

Quantity: 6 brand new, factory new aircraft, fully aerobatic
Landing Gears: Retractable 
Flight Capability: Inadvertent Instrument Meteorological Condition (IIMC) and Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) capable;
Cruising Speed: minimum of 220 knots indicated airspeed (KIAS)
Endurance: minimum of 2 hours and thirty minutes (2.5 hrs) at armed configuration at normal cruising speed without auxiliary tanks
Seating Configuration: dual tandem seating
Payload: at least 3,000 lbs, with at least 5 hard points, and at least 600 lbs capacity for each hard point. 
Service Ceiling: at least 25,000 feet
Short Take-off and Landing Capability: maximum 3,000 meters take-off and landing roll @ Maximum Gross Take-off Weight (MTOW)
Power Plant: New turbine engine(s), time between overhaul of at least 3,000 flight hours, suitable for tropical (hot, humid and high altitude environment), restart ability within 15 minutes after shutdown. 
Weapons Systems: all weather capability, capable of multiple munition mix loading, and capacity for 2 50-caliber machine guns either built-in or using gun pods 
Avionics Systems: compatible or better with current data bus MIL-STD 1553
Flight Instrument: 
- Day Visual Flight Rules (DVFR), Night Visual Flight Rules (NVFR), and Instrument Flight Rules (IFR);
- Heads Up Display (HUD) with integrated flight performance, navigation, and weapons targeting and delivery in day and night environment;
- 2 Multi-function Display for front and rear cockpits, 5x7 inches showing aircraft flight performance, navigation, targeting, and tactical mission system display;
- Hands-on Throttle and Stick (HOTAS) for both front and rear cockpits;
Navigation Equipment:
- Basic equipment for IFR flights, brand new and calibrated for sustained high G-forces;
- Global Positioning System/Inertial Navigation System (GPS/INS)
- Digital Moving Map, compatible with Night Vision Goggles (NVG),
- at least 1 unit VOR/ILS;
- at least 1 unit IFF Transponder;
Fire Control System:
- compatible or better with current data bus MIL-STD 1553
-capable of Air to Air, and Air to Ground modes;
- Equipped with EO/IR capable of FLIR, Imaging, and Targeting System, with Laser Designator and Rangefinder, NVG compatible;
Airframe: rated for minimum of 12,000 flight hours
- Zero-Zero ejection seat, with life raft, survival and First Aid Kit, and Emergency Located Transmitter Device per seat
- Front and Rear Cockpit armor plating, ballistic tolerance up to 7.62mm ammunition;
- Jettison-able external stores;
- Equipped with Radar Warning Receiver (RWR) and Missile Alert Warning System (MAWS)
- Equipped with Chaffs and Flares
Environmental System:
- Equipped with On-Board Oxygen Generation Systems (OBOGS),
- Cockpit Temperature Control / Equipment Cooling,
- Anti-G System

The Embraer EMB-412 (A-29B) Super Tucano:

Data from Type Analysis: Embraer Super Tucano (All specifications from Janes 2010–2011)

General characteristics

Crew: Pilot plus one navigator/student in tandem on Martin Baker Mk 10 LCX zero-zero ejection seats
Payload: 1,500 kg (3,307 lb)
Length: 11.38 m (37 ft 4 in)
Wingspan: 11.14 m (36 ft 6.5 in)
Height: 3.97 m (13 ft 0.25 in)
Wing area: 19.4 m2 (208.8 sq ft)
Empty weight: 3,200 kg (7,055 lb)
Max. takeoff weight: 5,400 kg (11,905 lb)
Powerplant: 1 × Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-68C turboprop, 1,196 kW (1,600 shp)
Propellers: Hartzell 5-blade constant speed, fully feathering, reversible-pitch propeller


Maximum speed: 590 km/h (319 knots, 367 mph)
Cruise speed: 520 km/h (281 knots, 323 mph)
Stall speed: 148 km/h (80 knots, 92 mph)
g-limit: +7/-3.5 g)
Range: 720 nmi (827 mi, 1,330 km)
Combat radius: 550 km (300 nmi, 342 mi) (hi-lo-hi profile, 1,500 kg (3,300 lb) of external stores)
Ferry range: 1,541 nmi (1,774 mi, 2,855 km)
Service ceiling: 10,668 m (35,000 ft)
Rate of climb: 16.4 m/s (3,242 ft/min)


Internal: (2×) 12.7 mm (0.50 in) 1,100 rounds per minute FN Herstal M3P machine guns, one in each wing.
pod: 1 20 mm (0.79 in) 650 rounds per minute GIAT M20A1 cannon below the fuselage.
pod: 1 12.7 mm (0.50 in) FN Herstal HMP for M3P machine gun under each wing

Hardpoints: 5 (two under each wing and one under fuselage centreline) with a capacity of 1,550 kg (3,300 lb)
           (4x) pods 70 mm (2.75 in) LM-70/19 (SBAT-70)
           (4x) pods 70 mm (2.75 in) LAU-68A/G
    ** Air-to-air:
           AIM-9L Sidewinder, MAA-1A Piranha, Python 3, Python 4
    ** Air-to-ground:
           AGM-65 Maverick, Roketsan Cirit
    ** General-purpose bombs:
          (10x) Mk 81, (5x) Mk 82, M-117
    ** Precision-guided bombs:
           SMKB-82 – INS/GPS guidance kit for Mk 82., Paveway II, Lizard – Elbit laser guidance kit, Griffin – IAI laser guidance kit.
    ** Others:
           Chaff & Flare (countermeasures), FLIR AN/AAQ-22 Star SAFIRE II (Electro-Optical/Infrared Sensors)

U P D A T E S:

11 July 2013:

MaxDefense released a blog entry discussing the possible replacements for the PAF's fleet of Rockwell OV-10 Bronco light attack aircraft, based on MaxDefense's opinion and information gathered from sources.

This was in light of the anticipated inclusion of a requirement for new close air support aircraft to be included in the Horizon 1 phase shopping list of the Philippine Air Force.

The blog entry can be accessed from the link provided below:

"The PAF OV-10 Replacement - Possible Candidates (2nd of 2 parts)" - first posted 11 July 2013

One of the PAF's OV-10 Bronco, this model previously an OV-10C with the Royal Thai Air Force. Credits to original source of photo.


28 June 2014:

Another blog entry was released by MaxDefense, this time directly related to the PAF's Close Air Support Acquisition Project.

The summary of the technical requirements was also posted (similar to the one above this page) while comparing these to possible candidates for the project like the Super Tucano, the KAI KA-1 Woongbi, Beechcraft AT-6 Wolverine, and the IOMAX Archangel. 

The blog entry can be accessed from the link provided below:

"Updates and Analysis on the Close Air Support Aircraft Project of the Philippine Air Force" - first posted 28 June 2014

The IOMAX Archangel Block 2, which is based on a crop-dusting aircraft. Photo taken from Flight International.


18 April 2015:

As posted on MaxDefense's community social media page:

3 MaxDefense community members, and a Timawa forum member reported of sighting an Embraer A-29 Super Tucano and a Beechcraft AT-6 Texan II at the Villamor Air Base apron. So far no photos to back this post.

This confirms that the PAF's Close Air Support Aircraft project is still moving forward despite the indefinite suspension of the bid submission schedule. Will post photo as soon as it becomes available.


30 December 2016:

As posted on MaxDefense's community social media page:

The Department of National Defense has released a new Invitation to Bid and Bid Documents for the Close Air Support Aircraft (CASA) acquisition project of the Philippine Air Force, which can be found in the DND's Bids and Awards Committee website. 

This project to acquire 6 close air support aircraft has been delayed by several years now and it is surprising that the DND still opted to have this project bidded despite having a technical specifications obviously leaning on Embraer's A-29B Super Tucano aircraft. 

Submission and Opening of Bid Envelope (SOBE) is tentatively scheduled on January 27, 2017. Expected bidders may include Embraer, Beechcraft Defense, and KAI.

The Embraer A-29B Super Tucano. Credits to original source of photo.


14 January 2017:

As posted on MaxDefense's community social media page:

The Pre-bid conference for the tender of the Close Air Support Aircraft acquisition project of the Philippine Air Force was done last January 11, 2017. Based on INITIAL AND UNOFFICIAL INFORMATION, it appears that the following aircraft manufacturers sent their representatives to the conference (others might be present but was not verified by the unofficial info):

Embraer - A-29B Super Tucano
Textron Aviation - AT-6 Wolverine
Korea Aerospace Industry - KA-1 Woongbi
Aero Vodochody - L-39NG 
Textron AirLand - Scorpion

The presence of these companies still surprises MaxDefense despite the PAF crafting the specifications very closely after the A-29B Super Tucano, which appears to be the early favourite to win the project. Several factors, including payload, onboard equipment, armouring requirements, endurance, and pool of current users affect the bid of several of the companies listed in pushing their products, which MaxDefense sees as very favourable to Embraer.

Top: Embraer A-29B Super Tucano. Credits to for the photo.
Above: KAI KA-1 Woongbi. Taken from KAI's website.


09 May 2017:

As posted on MaxDefense's community social media page:

According to our sources, three aircraft manufacturers remain as the expected biddders for the Philippine Air Force's Close Air Support (CAS) Aircraft acquisition project, based on their attendance in the recently concluded Pre-Bid Conference. These are: Aero Vodochody of Czech Republic with their L-39NG, Embraer of Brazil with their EMB-314 Super Tucano, and Textrom Aviation-Beechcraft with the AT-6 Wolverine.

Submission and Opening of Bid Envelopes (SOBE) is still scheduled on May 24, 2017.

From top to bottom: Aero Vodochody L-39NG, Embraer A-29B Super Tucano, and Beechcraft AT-6 Wolverine. Credits to original sources of these photos.


13 June 2017:

As posted on MaxDefense's community social media page:

December 2019: A typical morning to start the day with the Philippine Air Force's 15th Strike Wing. The sun rises at the wing's new home at Lumbia Air Base, as the fixed wing OV-10 Broncos and A-29 Super Tucanos, and rotary wing AW-109 Power close air support assets are prepped up for the new day.

This is how it would probably look like 2 years from now. Photo credited to MaxDefense sources.


13 June 2017:

MaxDefense releases a blog entry on the CAS Acquisition Project, to update on the recently completed bid opening wherein Embraer was declared the Sole Compliant Bidder pending the settlement of Motion for Reconsideration of Beechcraft after being disqualified for document issues on eligibility.

The blog entry can be accessed from the link provided below:

"Embraer Advances in Philippine Air Force's Close Air Support Aircraft Acquisition Project (Horizon 1)" - first posted on 13 June 2017

 Photo taken from Colombian Defense Forum @ 


13 July 2017:

As posted on MaxDefense's community social media page:

Post Qualification inspections on Embraer are now ongoing in Brazil after the aircraft manufacturer was declared the single lowest compliant bidder for the Philippine Air Force's Close Air Support Aircraft acquisition under the Revised AFP Modernization Program Horizon 1 phase.

Should Embraer pass the PQ, we expect a Notice of Award to be provided to Embraer, and negotiations towards signing a contract and can proceed. Being the only compliant bidder, Embraer should pass this process to avoid further delays in the project.

Embraer offered the A-29 Super Tucano, in which 6 will be acquired under this phase to complement and replace the ageing OV-10 Broncos of the 15th Strike Wing. Deliveries are expected to start by 2019.

The Embraer A-29B Super Tucano. Credits to original source of photo.


16 November 2017:

As posted on MaxDefense's community social media page:
The Philippine Air Force is hoping that the contract signing for the Close Air Support Aircraft acquisition project between the Department of National Defense and Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer SA would happen within the month, with Embraer to supply the PAF with 6 EMB-314 Super Tucano aircraft.

Industry sources pointed out to MaxDefense that Embraer was actually hoping the contract to be signed before the Dubai Airshow 2017, which opened several days ago, as the finalization for a new order from the PAF could have been good advertising for Embraer's Super Tucano aircraft as they showcase it to the competitive Middle East defense market. Too bad the delay came from the DND's side, again.


01 December 2017:

As posted on MaxDefense's community social media page:

Despite getting this news last night, we intentionally held it first to get a first hand confirmation from our sources.

Defense Sec. Delfin Lorenzana finally signed the contract for the acquisition of 6 Embraer Super Tucano to fulfill the Philippine Air Force's Close Air Support Aircraft acquisition project as included in the AFP Modernization Program's Horizon 1 phase. More will be acquired, with the PAF requesting for 18 more under the Horizon 2 phase.

MaxDefense expects the delivery of this batch to start in 2019 although Embraer may opt to deliver earlier if they can.

Photo taken from Embraer's website.


27 September 2018:

As posted on MaxDefense's community social media page:

Brazilian aerospace company Embraer participated in ADAS 2018, showcasing their new KC-390 tactical transport aircraft, Super Tucano attack aircraft, and their line of business jets.

A community member was able to speak to their representative, confirming that the 6 Super Tucano aircraft ordered by the Philippine Air Force will start delivery by 3Q 2019. Also, Embraer is hopeful that the plan by the PAF to acquire 18 more units will push through, which MaxDefense believes will happen in the Horizon 3 phase to fully replace the PAF's OV-10 and SF-260 fleet of attack aircraft.

Interesting discussion on KC-390, which the Embraer representstive confirmed as being competitive to Lockheed Martin's C-130J Super Hercules in terms of payload, performance, and operating and sustainment costs. And since it uses a lot of parts from existing Embraer business jets, they claim that local maintenance hubs like those of Lufthansa Technik will have no problem in maintenance works.

No confirmation though if Embraer is offering their business jets to the PAF for the VIP/Command & Control Aircraft to replace the ageing Fokker F.28 of the 250th Presidential Airlift Wing.

Thanks to MaxDefense community member Benedict Exconde for sharing these photos and info to us! Thanks also to another MaxDefense community member for providing additonal information!

Embraer's posted at ADAS 2018. Photo credits to MaxDefense community member Benedict Exconde.


 31 May 2019:

As posted on MaxDefense's community social media page:

As MaxDefense has been saying for almost a year now, the six Embraer A-29B Super Tucano ordered by the DND for the Philippine Air Force are expected to arrive starting November 2019.

The Super Tucano is the fruit of the PAF's Close Air Support Aircraft Acquisition Project under the Horizon 1 phase of RAFPMP, and are expected to replace the 15th Strike Wing's Aermacchi SF-260TP armed trainers.

So far, no additional CAS aircraft are planned for purchase in the current Horizon 2 phase.

An infographic on the upcoming A-29B Super Tucano for the Philippine Air Force, as displayed in the 15th Strike Wing's base in Cavite. Photo exclusively shared to MaxDefense by one of our source.


05 June 2019:

As posted on MaxDefense's community social media page:

From Inquirer's Frances Mangosing on her cover of the PAF Air Force Symposium 2019 yesterday, wherein she got Embraer to confirm the delivery of the first batch of A-29B Super Tucano close air support aircraft, which is said to be before the end of the year, while the rest will be in 2020. The planes will be brought in by Brazilian Air Force pilots.

Based on a PAF info-graphic provided to MaxDefense and posted a few days ago, it was mentioned that the aircraft start deliveries by November 2019.

Photo taken from Ms. Frances Mangosing's Twitter page. Credits owned by Ms. Mangosing.



First edit and release: 01 June 2019
Copyright MaxDefense Philippines

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