UAE buys 40 armed Brazilian Calidus B-250T turboprop aircraft

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As reported by the Cavok portal, a purchase agreement for 40 Calidus B-250T turboprop warplanes has been inked by the United Arab Emirates [UAE] Air Force. 

Photo by Jeff Martin

The deal was struck at the Dubai Airshow in 2023, as reported by the source, with the spotlight on two variations of the airplane: the B-250LA and B-250T. In line with official remarks, the rollout of the aircraft is expected to commence in early 2026. 

The notable specifications of the airplane include a P&WC PT6A-68 turboprop engine with an output of 1,600 horsepower, facilitating a peak speed of 704 km/h, complemented by a coverage of 2,593 kilometers. Emphasizing defense technology, the Abu Dhabi-based Calidus was established in 2015 with a focus on development and production activities. 

Shifting focus to Brazil, Novaer, headquartered in São José dos Campos, has brought the B-250 to fruition, which mirrors Embraer’s A-29 Super Tucano in various aspects.

The UAE’s light aircraft

The United Arab Emirates [UAE] is no stranger to the purchase of light aircraft. In fact, last year, BulgarianMilitary.com reported that the UAE had acquired 12 of the Chinese Hongdu JL-10 light combat and trainer aircraft, also known as the L-15 Falcon. The recent purchase of 40 Brazilian Calidus B-250T light aircraft furthers this trend. 

Photo credit: Wikipedia

The UAE Ministry of Defense confirmed to the Emir News Agency WAM in late February about the potential acquisition of an additional 36 units of the same fighter model in the coming years, according to reports in Arab media. 

Facing an increased number of attacks by Yemeni rebels lately, the UAE is on a mission to enhance its defenses. One part of this reinforcement strategy involves acquiring a fifth-generation American F-35 stealth fighter jet. However, the UAE awaits this deal, which BulgarianMilitary.com mentions has been momentarily “frozen” by the White House due to the UAE’s limited involvement in the Yemen war, a fact that has Democrats rallying to prevent the deal. 

The UAE’s decision to purchase Chinese light combat aircraft may invite a dissatisfied response from the U.S. Yet, as the UAE points out, their aim is to “develop defense capabilities and achieve strategic priorities”. Currently, their defense arsenal includes American F-16s and French Mirages. Additionally, they placed an order for French fighter jets from Dassault Rafale two years ago.

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