Upgraded A-4 Skyhawks for Brazil: new navigation, sensors, weapons

BRASILIA, ($1=4.80 Brazilian Reals) — Embraer delivered the latest upgraded AF-1 fighter [AF-1B] to the Brazilian Navy on April 20. The ceremony took place at the Gavião Peixoto factory in Sao Paulo, learned BulgarianMilitary.com, citing FlugRevue.

Upgraded A-4 Skyhawks for Brazil: new navigation, sensors, weapons
Photo credit: AP

Under the AF-1 program [Marinha do Brasil’s name for McDonnell Douglas A-4 Skyhawk], seven aircraft were upgraded – five single-seater AF-1B and two two-seater AF-1C.

The aircraft received new systems for navigation and use of weapons, as well as new computers and better tactical communications [Rohde & Schwarz] and sensor systems, including multimode radar [ELTA Systems ELM-2032] and a new operating system. In addition to the modernization, the hull has undergone major repairs that will increase the service life of the aircraft.

As part of Embraer’s modernization program, a flight simulator has been developed that allows the Brazilian Navy to train pilots and thus increase safety during their operations. In addition, training and interrogation stations were deployed to improve aircraft use, reduce costs and increase the effectiveness of mission planning and execution.

Embraer received a $ 106 million contract in April 2009 to upgrade nine AF-1s and three AF-1As [used Kuwaiti aircraft]; however, the program was later discontinued.

About Douglas A-4 Skyhawk

AF-1 is the Brazilian name for the American Douglas A-4 Skyhawk. Brazil bought 20 A-4 Skyhawks from Kuwait in 1997. He paid $ 70 million for them. The Brazilian fighters are models A-4M and TA-4J – the latest models created by Douglas. According to the Brazilian government, the choice to buy this type of fighter is made because they have a short flight time, excellent physical performance and condition, and of course the cheap price.

The Douglas A-4 Skyhawk is a single-seat fighter. It is powered by a Pratt & Whitney J52-P-6A turbojet engine, which guarantees it 8,500 lbf [38 kN] thrust. The maximum speed that can be reached is 585 kn [673 mph, 1,083 km / h] at sea level. With one refueling of the fuel tank, the pilot can fly a maximum distance of 1,867 km.

Upgraded A-4 Skyhawks for Brazil: new navigation, sensors, weapons
Photo credit: Pinterest

It is armed with two 20 mm [0.79 in] Colt Mk 12 cannon, 100 rounds/gun, four under-wing and one under-fuselage pylon stations with a capacity of 8,500 lb [3,900 kg], with provisions to carry combinations of four LAU -10 rocket pods [each with 4 × 127 mm Mk 32 Zuni rockets] and several types of bombs. The Douglas A-4 Skyhawk is also armed with air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles.


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