How the UAE conquered Brazilian military technology

Brazilian aerospace firm Novaer was gazumped by an Abu Dhabi firm on the production of defense aircraft. But Brasília has refused to step in, hoping to preserve its special relationship with the UAE

uae super tucano a-29 How the UAE conquered Brazilian military technology
Brazilian Air Force pilots testing the A-29 Super Tucano in Natal. Photo: Lalo de Almeida/Folhapress

Introduced in 2003, the Embraer A-29 Super Tucano was designed as a versatile light attack aircraft with low maintenance costs, suitable for training and counterinsurgency operations. So far, armed forces from 15 countries worldwide have selected it — and in 2015 the Brazilian Air Force hoped to make the United Arab Emirates its 16th client, with the purchase of 24 models.

The deal, however, never materialized. Furthermore, the UAE has since obtained a plane that is so similar to the A-29 Super Tucano — and in such curious circumstances — raising eyebrows among Brazil’s military top brass about...

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