The Tucano T1 is a modified version of the Brazilian Embraer EMB-312 Tucano aircraft,
and is built under licence by Shorts of Belfast. The Tucano is operated primarily
from No 1 Flying Training School, at RAF Linton-on-Ouse, to provide basic fastjet
flying training to RAF and RN student pilots, and basic WSO training to all potential
RAF WSOs. Student pilots fly around 130 hours during their training course on the
Tucano before progressing to the Hawk T1 aircraft at RAF Valley.
The aircraft is powered by an 1150shp Garrett Turboprop engine, has a maximum speed
of 300kts (345mph) and can maintain 270kts (310mph) at low level. It can operate
at up to 30,000 feet and has an initial climb rate of 4000 feet per minute. The Tucano
replaced the Jet Provost in RAF service and its two-seat tandem cockpit makes it
an ideal lead-in to the Hawk, which is flown at the next stage of training. The turboprop
Tucano was chosen to replace the RAF’s Jet Provosts because of its greater fuel efficiency
and lower operating costs.
The aircraft handling is similar to that of a jet aircraft and it is fully aerobatic,
thus providing an excellent workhorse for training fast-jet pilots in all aspects
of military flying. It is used to develop students in a full range of skills, including
general aircraft handling, formation flying and low-level navigation and, due to
its comprehensive avionics and ice-protection packages, it can be flown in all types
of weather, by day and by night. The Tucano’s all-weather flying capability, plus
its excellent endurance, allows a great measure of flexibility in the training role.
Should weather conditions be poor at their home base, crews operating from RAF Linton-on-
Ouse can fly low-level sorties to locations as far away as Wales or the north of
The Tucano has recently undergone a wing and fuselage strengthening programme to
overcome aircraft stress problems and will remain as the RAF’s primary fast-jet basic
flying-training aircraft until later in the decade.