The North American company Sierra Nevada Corporation has shown pictures of one of the three A-29 Sper Tucano light fighter aircraft for the US Air Force’s Special Operations Command, painted with a retro scheme reminiscent of fighter-bombers. P-51A Mustang, which deployed the command’s forerunner unit that operated in China, Burma, and India during World War II.
It is the first time that official pictures of this A-29 force, the locally made version of the Brazilian Embraer EMB-314 for the AFSOC (Air Force Special Operations Command) have been seen, and that they are being delivered to the Hurlburt Air Force Base at the Eglin AFB (Air Force Base) (Florida) military complex before the end of the year.
The color scheme is reminiscent of the aircraft of the 1st Air Commando Group, predecessor of the United States Air Force Special Operations Command in 1944 and 1945. The most famous were the P-51A Mustang fighters, which were most similar to the A-29 and P- 47 Thunderbolt, but the scheme was also applied to the various types of transport, bomber, glider and liaison aircraft. They all wore distinctive diagonal white stripes around the hull, with the base color being dark olive green and light gray underneath to facilitate identification and prevent friendly fire incidents while supporting the Indo-British special forces Chindits operating in Burma against the Japanese.
Sierra Nevada Corporation confirmed that the system will only apply to the second of the three aircraft on order. Painted at the request of the Special Operations Command, in memory of the historical legacy that honors the services of the 1st Air Commando Group in support of the Chindits. This second aircraft arrived at the company’s modification facility in Centennial, Colorado on February 23, joining the first aircraft to be a standard gray color like the A-29 in Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, the third aircraft is in the final production phase at Embraer’s Defense & Security facilities in Jacksonville, Florida, where the A-29s are manufactured. Sierra Nevada Corporation, the prime contractor, and its partner Embraer are producing the three Super Tucanoes to aid the mission of their fighter advisory unit. Operated by the 6th Special Operations Squadron, one of the AFSOC flight units, the aircraft will be used in support of training, which shares its experience by training the Washington-designated Allied Air Force. The US company will train and support the Hurlburt A-29 until 2024, when the US Air Force Special Operations Command can operate and maintain the aircraft autonomously. (Julio Maz Sanz)
Photo: The Super Tucano, like the USAF, painted Mustangs in the CBI area of operations during World War II. (SNC photo)
Image of two P-51As from 1st Air Commando Group that inspired the retro livery of the future AFSOC A-29. (USAF photo)
Detail of the lines of the A-29 Sper Tucano retro that use the AFSOC. (SNC photo)
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