Brazil’s first E-99 AEW&C completes upgrade

Embraer announced that it had completed the upgrade process of the Brazilian Air Force’s first E-99 airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft to E-99M-standard on July 24.

The modernisation process took place at Embraer’s facility in São José dos Campos, in São Paulo, Brazil. It concluded after the aircraft was repainted in Brazilian Air Force colours.

Upgraded aircraft will receive the E-99M designation and will feature expanded capabilities, such as the ability to conduct electronic reconnaissance and flight control and alarm missions.

E-99M [Brazilian Air Force] #1
The first E-99M to be rolled out after undergoing the modernisation process after it was repainted at the company's facility in São Paulo. Força Aérea Brasileira (FAB, Brazilian Air Force) 

Brazil’s E-99M modernisation programme was launched in 2012. It is led by the nation’s Combat Aircraft Program Coordinating Committee (COPAC) with Embraer acting as the lead contractor. International companies, such as Saab, AeroElectronica International (AELI) and Rohde & Schwarz are also involved in the project.

Lt Col Fabio Pires Vieira, the E-99M modernisation project manager, said: “The conclusion of this stage is an important indication that, despite all the adversities faced due to the restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The aircraft will be delivered for operational use this year, as planned.”

According to Embraer, along with the modernisation and upgrade of the aircraft’s mission systems, the effort has also provided technology transfer agreements that will “enable technological advances of [the] Brazilian [defence] industry.”

AirForces Intelligence data states that Brazil accepted its first Embraer E-99 in December 2000. As of July 31, 2020, five aircraft were in operational service. The platform employs Saab’s Erieye active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar system. The type was originally designated the R-99A until 2008, when it was renamed to E-99.