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Shorts Tucano TR.3, RAF service, Afghanistan, 2005

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Shorts Tucano TR.3, RAF service, Afghanistan, 2005


The Short Tucano is a two-seat turboprop basic trainer built by Short Brothers in Belfast, Northern Ireland. It is a licence-built version of the Brazilian Embraer EMB-312 Tucano.


Development of the Tucano started in May 1984 after an agreement between Embraer and Short Brothers to meet a requirement to replace the BAC Jet Provost as a basic trainer with the Royal Air Force. The Royal Air Force issued Air Staff Target 412 to define the requirement for a high-performance turboprop trainer. A shortlist of designs competed for the contract; the other types considered were the Pilatus PC-9, the NDN-1T Turbo-Firecracker and the Australian Aircraft Consortium (AAC) A.20 Wamira II.


The first standard production model T.Mk 1 was flown on 30 December 1986 and the official rollout took place on 20 January 1987. A second prototype flew on 10 March 1987, and, by April a third had joined the test fleet for clearance and final testing at Boscombe Down. The fourth build aircraft was the first delivered to the RAF on 16 June 1988 at the Central Flying School,[5] while the last delivery to RAF occurred 25 January 1993.


In addition to the revised engine, the major differences of the Shorts Tucano are a strengthened airframe for an improved fatigue life, a cockpit layout similar to the Hawk advanced trainer, a revised oxygen system, a flight data recorder, a four-bladed propeller, ventral airbrake and restyled wingtips. Two Martin-Baker MB 8LC ejection seats are used and the canopy was modified to meet the RAF's bird strike requirements. During its production run, Shorts commonly promoted the airframe as being "100% British-built". In order to meet RAF requirements, the EMB-312 has some 900 modifications reducing commonality with the original aircraft to only 50%


In 2001, the RAE (Royal Aircraft Establishment) decided to use the basic Tucano airframe for a trials tactical reconnaissance aircraft. One aircraft was selected and modified. It’s wing tips were extended by six feet on each side and a specialised tactical reconnaissance pod was attached under the fuselage centreline. The rear cockpit was used to house electronics gear. Cruising at 50,000 feet, high over the battlefield the aircraft had an IIR (Imaging Infra-red) system and a Laser Designator housed in a turret at the front of the pod and a small warning radar housed in it’s rear, for defensive purposes. Equipped with a direct datalink to a ground station via satellite, the aircraft was able to perform direct reconnaissance missions under command of the ground commander conducting operations, as well as being able to direct airstrikes using it’s laser designator to guide bombs onto the target.


With the commitment of British forces to the war in Afghanistan, the RAF decided to undertake combat trials with the aircraft. These were most successful and within a year, a squadron had been formed to undertake operations with the now designated Tucano TR.3 aircraft. 12 airframes were selected for conversion. The only noticeable differences were the extended wingtips and the metal cover over the rear cockpit.










The Model


The model is a 1/72 scale Premier Models Shorts Tucano. It has been brushpainted and the decals came from the spare box. It’s wingtips have been extended with plasticard and the rear cockpit painted over. The decals came from the sparesbox, as did the pod on the centreline. The observation turret at the front is a fishing weight.

Edited by rickshaw

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On 9/18/2018 at 1:24 AM, missile-monkey said:

Better photos would be nice. Photo two and three a bit blurry. I, for one, would like to see more of your work. It's a neat idea.






You mean like these?






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On 9/30/2018 at 12:56 AM, charlie_c67 said:

How does the Premiere model compare to the Airfix model?

Airfix one would be IMHO streets ahead of the Premier model one.

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Interesting idea. I like the application of older or turboprop aircraft to modern battlefields. I've seen a What If Tucano in WW2 Aussie markings and colours as well which looked good. I am still deciding what I will do with my Airfix one, it won't be real world though.

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