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Brazilian Navy receives final upgraded AF-1 fighter

Modernized Brazilian Navy A-4 Skyhawk AF-1 fighter
Photo: Embraer

The Brazilian Navy has taken delivery of its final modernized McDonnell Douglas A-4 Skyhawk from aerospace and defense company Embraer.

Known as the AF-1 (AF-1B) in the Brazilian Navy, the fighter jet was handed over in a ceremony held at Embraer’s industrial unit in Gavião Peixoto, in São Paulo state.

Under the AF-1 program, seven subsonic fighter jets were modernized – five single-seater AF-1Bs and two two-seaters AF-1Cs.

The AF-1 is an intercept and attack aircraft operated from airfields or aircraft carriers as a vector for the fleet’s air defense. The Brazilian Navy’s modernized aircraft received new navigation, weapons, power generation, computers, tactical communication, and sensor systems, including a multi-mode radar and a new operating system.

In addition to the modernization, the aircraft had their frames revitalized, increasing their useful life.

As part of the modernization program carried out by Embraer, a high-fidelity flight simulator was developed to allow the Brazilian Navy to carry out pilot training.

Briefing and debriefing stations used in the training and proficiency of pilots were also provided to improve their use, to reduce costs and to bring greater effectiveness to mission planning and execution.

Embraer completed the AF-1 upgrade program for the Brazilian Navy after wrapping up the Brazilian Air Force’s F-5M Tiger II modernization program in 2020. That program saw the company overhaul a total of 49 of the Northrop Grumman-built light fighters over the course of 15 years.