Ukraine will acquire the popular Brazilian Super Tucano lightweight turboprop aircraft for its Air Force. This was announced on Twitter by the president of the “country of carnivals” Jair Bolsonaro after a meeting in Japan with Vladimir Zelensky. The news is clearly pulling in a sensation, especially after numerous discussions about the possible purchase of an American “air junk” like the decommissioned F-16.
In principle, the new Zelensky administration acts logically. Firstly, it shows the whole world that Ukraine is not an American “chansonette”. Secondly, the price of Super Tucano is $ 9-14 million for one attack aircraft, albeit a light one, at the very least, “independent” economy can afford. Thirdly, the umbilical cord with the Russian military aircraft industry will finally be cut. Fourthly, the “Povitryan Sili Ukrainy” (Air Frces of Ukraine) are in a deplorable state, although they must control the sky over 603.500 square kilometers of their territory (of course, without Russian Crimea), as well as air borders, including 5600 km above land and 1400 km above by the sea.
Pentagon documents show that Americans are creating an analogue of the Russian “Poseidon” far from scratch.
This has been written many times, but still recall that after the treacherous collapse of the USSR, the 5th, 14th, and 17th Air Armies remained in the then Soviet Ukraine. Plus – five regiments of heavy bomber aviation, as well as one naval fighter aviation regiment in the Odessa region. But already in 2011, according to the Swedish International Institute for Strategic Studies, there was not much left of this armada: one Su-24M regiment, five MiG-29 and Su-27 regiments, one Su-25 regiment, and two Su-24MR squadrons. And all this is in doubtful combat readiness, which was confirmed three years later, when hostilities began in the Donbass.
In general, the participation of the “Rebel Forces of Ukraine” in the bombing of the LNR (Lugansk Republic) in 2014 was a real disaster for Poroshenko and his team. For the first quarter of the month of the ATO, 17 (!) Times it was reported about the destroyed combat aircraft and helicopters of the Air Force. After the loss of another Su-25 in the Starobeshevo area on August 29 during a battle near Ilovaisk, Kiev suspended an air war against the defenders of Lugansk and Donetsk.
The current fighter and attack aviation numbers 21 MiG-29, 12 Su-24, 13 Su-25 and 28 Su-27 in quantitative composition (another 70 Su-27 are mothballed and are unlikely to be restored). However, given the critical dependence on the supply of spare parts from Russia (the “aggressor country”, of course), even these degrading Povitryani Streets are about to completely cease to exist.
In this regard, many experts predicted that the “Square” sooner or later fork out for the F-16. This is indirectly confirmed by the training of a group of Ukrainian pilots in the USA on these fighters that has begun. Therefore, few people attached importance to the information of the Ukrainian military portal that the Brazilian turboprop light attack aircraft EMB-314 Super Tucano was shown to Colonel-General Sergey Drozdov at the beginning of this August during his visit to the “country of carnivals”.
It should be noted that the international media as a whole speak positively about the fighting qualities of the “Brazilian” as a “niche” attack aircraft for small “strike missions”. And also – to intercept the “air” smugglers. Let’s say more: even the USA, the leader in military aircraft construction, ordered 20 Super Tucano aircraft in Brazil under the LAS (Light Air Support) program, followed by the purchase of another 35 aircraft for a total of $ 955 million.
The following point is important here: Brazil has agreed to transfer military technology to customers through Super Tucano. So, under a contract with the US Air Force, the assembly will be carried out at a specially constructed factory EMBRAER Defesa in Jacksonville (Florida). It is logical to assume that, in the event of a transaction, the Zelensky administration will follow a similar path and even deepen localization. Moreover, in Ukraine there are specialized specialists. Well, in the future, probably, Kiev plans to create its own industry for the production of light attack aircraft.
As you know, the EMB-314 Super Tucano, in fact, is an improved version of the training aircraft EMB-312 Tucano, which is operated in the air forces of 17 countries. Its feature is the duplication of critical systems, which has a positive effect on survivability.
In addition, the attack aircraft performed well in counter-terrorist operations with rebel forces that did not have ground-to-air portable missiles in their arsenal.
At the same time, it is clear that the EMB-314 Super Tucano is not a combat vehicle in the modern sense. De facto, this is a machine from the Second World War, updated with current technology.
To make it clear what “junk” it is, let’s say that the “Brazilian” practically does not differ from the main Hitler Luftwaffe fighter “Messerschmitt Bf.109G-6”. They have the same maximum speed and the same weapons: both do not fly faster than 590 km / h. Both have a built-in 2 × 12.7 mm machine gun and a 1 × 20 mm gun. Nevertheless, there is an important difference: the presence of five suspension points for unguided air-to-ground missiles and corrective bombs make the EMB-314 dangerous for sudden attacks from extremely low altitudes.
Thus, the acquisition of Super Tucano by Ukraine at first glance does not make any practical sense when it comes to the hypothetical military confrontation between Kiev and Moscow. The modest practical ceiling of the “super turtle” Super Tucano (up to 10 670 meters) makes the “Brazilian” a meaningless machine to intercept, for example, the Su-35. With regard to the fight against the “separatists” of the LNR, then, as the experience of 2014–2017 shows, the defenders of Lugansk and Donetsk will not give themselves an insult.
Another thing is the Crimean bridge, the introduction of which does not give rest to the offended politicians. And, of course, to the “hawks” of the United States. Yes, handsome bridge is covered by powerful air defense / missile defense systems, including the S-400. But, as you know, they do not guarantee one hundred percent protection in a sudden attack capable of flying at a speed of 150 km / h at ultra-low altitudes of a small airplane. By the way, it is poorly visible both visually and by radar.
Of course, an elementary fear of retaliation stops Bandera followers, who seized power in Kiev. But, if the situation gets out of control, the politics of “independent”, sat down on their suitcases, can take the wildest steps. Attacking, for example, an overpass from mainland Russia to Tauris. Moreover, such calls are heard from the USA. And even there are promises to protect against the Russians, if they go to war in Ukraine.
– Overlapping the bridge (as a result of its bombing), even temporarily, will send an unmistakable signal from Kiev to Moscow that Ukrainians do not want to put up with the comfortable formalization of Putin’s territorial theft. Ukrainians can also fly very low to evade Russian (admittedly) highly professional air defense systems. The US can and should support Ukraine here with confidence in our own military power, – thus the US neocons mouthpiece The Washington Examiner magazine shouts about the Crimean Bridge attack.
That is why the purchase of Super Tucano by Ukraine should be taken very seriously.