Colombian Air Force A-29B Super Tucanos are currently taking part in Ex. Green Flag East. Along with Moody AFB’s A-10s (and other U.S. combat planes.)
Four Colombian Air Force A-29B Super Tucanos are taking part in Exercise Green Flag East from Aug. 15 to 29, from Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana.
The Colombian contingent, supported by 45 Colombian airmen, arrived at the base home of some of the American iconic B-52 strategic bombers on Aug. 13 and immediately started engaging with their U.S. Air Force counterparts in order to prepare for the two-week exercise.
Green Flag East is one of Air Combat Command’s premier close-air-support exercises, which rehearses close-air-support tactics, while enhancing interoperability with Air Force and Army forces: during GF pilots train in a simulated, high-threat environment, while maintenance and support personnel are provided an increased tempo in generating fully mission-capable combat aircraft.
In addition to the Colombian aircraft, U.S. Air Force A-10s from Moody Air Force Base, Ga.; F-16s from the Texas Air National Guard; KC-135s from McConnell AFB, Kans.; E-3s from Tinker AFB, Okla.; and E-8s from Robins AFB, Ga.; have taken part in the exercise.
As part of Green Flag East, two A-10 Thunderbolt IIs belonging to the 75th FS from Moody flew a simulated close-air-support mission with two Colombian A-29B Super Tucanos.
Interestingly, the Embraer A-29 Super Tucano is among the most successful CAS platforms all around the world and one considered to be among the candidates to replace the A-1o Thunderbolt in the role of supporting the troops in contact with the enemy forces. Already in service with 10 air arms around the world, the propeller-driven aeroplane has the ability to carry a wide variety of bombs and machine guns; given the U.S. Air Force plan to retire its A-10 fleet in 2022, the Super Tucano has often been said to be a possible A-10 replacement in the close air support role.
U.S. IPs with the 81st FS from Moody AFB already fly the Afghan Air Force A-29B aircraft delivered earlier this year as part of the Train, Advice, Assist Command-Air (TAAC-Air): they advice and train Afghan pilots to operate the highly maneuverable fourth generation weapons system while developing close air support, aerial escort, armed overwatch and aerial interdiction.
Image credit: U.S. Air Force
The entire effort by the Air Force to replace the A-10 has become muddled in politics, conjecture, misinformation, disinformation and basic military group think. In the end it is basically this. The Air Force has a serious budget issue. They have kicked the can of modernization (fleet wide) down the road for far too long, been burned by lengthy and expensive acquisition processes too many times and have found themselves in serious trouble. The underlying problem I am talking about, the “serious trouble” is a that they need more NEW aircraft and can no longer just “stretch” or “modernize” existing aircraft to make do.
The A-10 is being sacrificed to make up for some of this fiscal negligence by the Air Force. But it’s not all the AF Brass’s fault. The Air Force has been in a constant state of war sense before 2001, actually sense the first Gulf War the Air Force has faced in creased operations tempo and faced massive logistical challenges all in nearly every theater of the world. After Gulf War I they entered into Northern Watch and Southern Watch, then Somalia (1993), Kosovo, then we all know what happened after 9/11. This op tempo has killed off a tanker fleet they had hoped would last them a little bit longer, also killed off the C-141 fleets. So they have had issues not of their own doing. BUT….
Threat systems have been progressing and they (the Brass) know this. So they knew F-117 with it’s 2 GBU-10/24’s was NOT going to cut it. F-22 had been in the work sense the late 1980s and this is where the wheels started to fall off the procurement wagon. If you work in a procurement office you should CRINGE every time you hear the word’s “Emerging Technologies”, or “Entirely NEW Materials”, or “5th Generation”. All this means cost overruns, delays and massive spending is coming. The Procurement process went wobbly with the F-22 but it hit rock bottom of misery with F-35.
F-35 was a procurement nightmare. Too many people in the Pentagon wanted to get in on the F-35 action that in the end the design requirements sent to industry to build against were staggering. Nothing had been tried like this before (have a STOVL variant of a CTOL jet that ALSO has a CV variant, imagine in the 1960’s if someone tried this, some kind of Harrier/Phantom Franken-jet…ewww) and industry responded as best they could. People like to blame Lockheed for this, but it was the PENTAGON that got the ball rolling on the procurement disaster that is the F-35.
So that brings us to now, a Cash strapped AF that DESPERATELY needs new Tankers, Attack Aircraft, large numbers of 5th Gen jets to counter advanced Russian A2AD hardware that they are selling like hotcakes to anyone that wants them AND do all this with shrinking budgets and less people turning wrenches. It’s a massive mess and I wouldn’t want to be the Air Force/Farce Chief of Staff right now.
What should have happened is that F-35 should have been scaled back in it’s requirements, and fielded quicker (put incentives into the contract to do this, like the KC-46 contract, all thought they don’t seem to be working and Boeing is looking at stiff penalties right now). Tanker money should have been allocated earlier and we should have adopted European versions of the 767 based tankers and not try to do it in classic USAF Gold Plated style. But I doubt the AF would have been able to wrangle that kind of cash with also needed to update BLU-61, ICMB’s, B-52 (it is badly behind in terms of upgrades, but is starting to get them), MASSIVE increase in Cyberwar and the list goes on.
These half serious attempts to replace the A-10 with aircraft like the A-29 just shows you how foolish and desperate the AF has become over the years. They want to appease EVERYONE and end up failing EVERYONE in the process, even themselves. A-10 can stay around for awhile, the wings are new and the systems pretty decent, talk that it can not handle the modern battle field is foolish and naïve.
Sorry, didn’t mean to write a book, just happens sometimes.
Folks, Please help me out here: A-29 was developed and built by Embraer? I found Embraer on the web and got confused, who are they?
I agree that the most interesting/disturbing point is this one: “SUPER TUCANO HAS OFTEN BEEN SAID TO BE A POSSIBLE A-10 REPLACEMENT IN THE CLOSE AIR SUPPORT ROLE” What are the other POSSIBLE replacements??? Su-25? Ju-87?
A-10 to F-35 to A-29: all I can say is WOW!!!!!
No the super tucano can’t be the replace of thunderbolts! Ok for CAS is a grat support, but the A10 goas over this…
There are no real replacements for the A10, A10 best weapon in CAS is still its gun. All so called replacements dont have it. And the A10 can also be used in high threat environments.not only COIN. The only reasons these so called replacements are mentioned is to kill of the A10 in favorite of F35. But I think that in addition to A10 and Armed drones the USAF needs some cheap platforms like AC208 or AT802 in roles were a A10 is an overkill.