The Brazilian EMBRAER Tucano is one of the world's most successful turboprop trainers, and its light attack derivatives are gaining significant orders. Design of the EMB-312 Tucano (toucan) high-performance trainer started in 1978 in response to a Forca Aerea Brasileira (FAB - Brazilian air force) specification. First flown on 16 August 1980, the prototype Tucano was followed by 133 production aircraft designated T-27 for the FAB. Designed to provide a jet-like flying experience, the Tucano has a long cockpit with vertically staggered ejection seats and a single power level governing both propeller pitch and the engine rpm.
Tucanos have also been delivered to Argentina (30), Colombia (14), Egypt (54), France (50), Iran (25), Iraq (80), Honduras (12), Paraguay (6), Peru (30) and Venezuela (31); a further 27 aircraft have been built for undisclosed customers.
The Tucano's most notable export success came in March 1985, when it won a British order for an aircraft to replace the RAF's Jet Provosts in the basic training role. The resulting Tucano T.Mk 1 was produced under license by Shorts. This model featured a range of modifications including British equipment and a more powerful Garrett engine. Shorts built 130 examples for the RAF and further aircraft for Kenya (12) and Kuwait (16).
In June 1991 EMBRAER announced the EMB-312H (later EMB-314) Super Tucano with a stretched fuselage, an uprated PT6A engine, an NVG-compatible, Kevlar-armored cockpit and forward-looking infra-red. This type has higher performance and greater agility, as well as the ability to carry a heavier load. In August 1995 the FAB ordered full development of the ALX variant of the EMB-314. Intended for light attack, Amazon border patrol and weapons training, some 99 aircraft have been ordered, comprising 49 single-seat A-29 attack machines, 20 two-seat AT-29s with night attack capability and 30 AT-29 advanced trainers.