São José dos Campos, March 31, 2008 – Embraer has delivered the 23rd modernized F-5 aircraft to the Brazilian Air Force (Força Aérea Brasileira – FAB). The aircraft took off from the Company’s Gavião Peixoto facilities and joined the Pampa Wing at Canoas Air Base in the State of Rio Grande do Sul. These F-5 fighters are now designated as the F-5M by the FAB.
“We are very proud to have achieved this important milestone in the upgrading of the Brazilian Air Force’s F-5 fleet, contributing a quality leap in terms of readiness, operational capability and the ongoing support of our country’s important air defense assets,” said Luiz Carlos Aguiar, Embraer Vice President, Defense and Government Market.
The first plane was presented to Embraer by the FAB in February 2001, and was used as a prototype for the development and testing phases of the F-5BR Program. The complete F-5M squadrons are scheduled to be fully operational in 2009, ready to fly on the cutting edge for at least another 15 years.
About the F-5BR program
The F-5E and F-5F fighter jets joined the FAB at the beginning of the 1970s. They are being modernized in order to provide the enhanced operational capability required to ensure at least another 15 years of operational usefulness. The program involves upgrading 46 F-5E single-seat and F-5F tandem two-seat models. Each aircraft receives a new avionics package of navigation/armaments and aiming/self-defense systems, computers, and multi-mode radar. They also undergo structural improvements and their armaments are standardized with other FAB weaponry. After the upgrading is completed, the FAB military designation for the jets will be the F-5EM (single-seater) and F-5FM (two-seater).
The cockpit of the F-5M is designed for all types of weather, day and night. The configuration permits handling all controls with the HOTAS (Hands On Throttle and Stick) concept. Two high-performance computers and an integrated INS/GPS navigational system are also included. Three multifunctional color monitors and a Helmet Mounted Display (HMD) give the F-5M the best man-machine interface available. All of the visual and lighting systems of this aircraft were projected for use with night vision goggles.
Besides greater systems integration, other important upgrades include multi-mode long-range air-to-air search and tracking radar, air-to-ground and weapons aiming capabilities, Radar Warning Receiver (RWR), encrypted radio communications to protect data exchanges between the FAB’s F-5M and R-99A early warning aircraft or ground control centers, an On- Board Oxygen Generation System (OBOGS) and fuel management.
Electronic advances have brought a significant reduction in the size and weight of on-board components, replacing outdated items with new ones. The only noticeable external change is the new and larger nose cone, to accommodate the bigger radar antenna.