The Brazilian Air Force (FAB) on Thursday (Oct. 04) delivered the second E-99 aircraft to Brazilian aerospace contractor Embraer, responsible for the modernization process of the FAB’s radar aircraft. The aircraft was prepared to be transferred from the Guardian Squadron, 2nd / 6th GAV located with Ala 2, in the city of Anápolis (GO), to the company’s plant in Gavião Peixoto (Sao Paolo state). This is another stage of the program developed under the responsibility of the Coordinating Commission of the Combat Aircraft Program (COPAC).
During the modernization process, the mission system and other related subsystems will be upgraded, expanding the capabilities of the aircraft, which is currently employed in operations to control and defend Brazilian airspace.
"Modernization will contribute to the more efficient use of Brazilian air power. It is needed to extend the life cycle and to increase the aircraft's operational capability. It will increase the radar range, speed of data processing and enable faster and mora accurate target identification. The number of on-board operators and radios will be increased, which, with the implementation of the new command and control system, will improve the accomplishment of the mission,” said the Project Manager E-99M, Col. Carlos Sérgio da Costa Lima.
The scope of work foresees the accomplishment of ground and in-flight tests before the modernization is completed, besides the certification coordinated by the Institute of Promotion and Industrial Coordination (IFI). The first aircraft is expected to be completed and returned to the Air Force in the first half of 2020.
In all, five aircraft will go through the same process, which will promote the development and full integration of systems by 2022.
The aircraft, whose outstanding feature is the radar antenna on its top, is capable of detecting aerial targets and transmitting this information to ground control centers. These aircraft were developed from the Embraer-145 regional transport jet.
The E-99s started operations with the FAB in 2002, as part of the acquisitions aimed at forming the Amazon Surveillance System (SIVAM). Its radar allows it to carry out early warning air missions, including control of fighter flights on air defense missions, coordination of search and rescue operations, and border surveillance. Its sensors, now in the process of modernization, will be the most advanced and lowest-cost systems for in-flight control and alert missions.
The E-99 is capable of providing accurate, real-time intelligence on aircraft flying at low altitude. When the fighter pilots receive their orders and depart for the interception missions, the E-99 aircraft already monitors the airspace of the region, visualizing the entire area of operation. Any small plane operating without the knowledge of air traffic control is monitored and identified by the E-99. Its crew is able to control the intercepting aircraft, leading them to the unidentified aircraft.
According to the Commander of the Guardian Squadron, Lt. Col. Pedro Gustavo Schmidt Siloto, these characteristics highlight the relevance of the modernization process. It will allow the FAB to continue its air missions and to combat illicit traffic, acting as a leader in interagency operations such as Operation Agate and, more recently, Operation Óstium.
"With the advent of modern technology and more efficient methods and equipment, the modernization of this aircraft is crucial for the winning performance of the Brazilian Air Force Command. This action will allow the aircraft eyes to remain open and attentive, also by expanding its horizons, so once again the FAB will be ahead of its time, anticipating the needs to maintain an ideal protection of all our 22 million square kilometers," he said.
In addition, E-99 aircraft have the capability to complement the ground radar signals, also serving as a radar-viewing or communications relay for civil traffic.