EMB-121 Xingu – 30 years with the French Air Force

French Air Force

EMB-121 Xingu – 30 years with the French Air Force

Embraer Defense & Security this month celebrates the historic milestone of 30 years‘ operations of the EMB-121A Xingu with the French Air Force (Armée de l’Air) and French Navy (Marine Nationale). The Xingu, operated by the French  Ecole de l’Aviation de Transport (EAT) from Airforce Base 702 in Avord, France, has, to date, been used to train more than 1,900 cadets from France but also pilots from Belgium, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Gabon, Luxembourg, and Madagascar.

The EMB-121 Xingu first landed at Air Force Base 702 on March 29th, 1983 as a training aircraft replacement for the Dassault 312 Flamant. In 1984, the first batch of newly qualified pilots concluded their training. Since that time, over 330.000 flight hours have been flown by the 43 Xingus of EAT and today, a total of 33 aircraft remain in operation.

“We are very proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with the French Air Force in celebrating this milestone of 30 years of operations of the Xingu.  It is a historic achievement for Embraer too,” said Jackson Schneider, President & CEO, Embraer Defense & Security. “Supporting a fleet over 30 years operated by an Air Force, such as France’s, demonstrates rigor in its demanding operations, and reflects Embraer’s commitment to building strong relationships with its customers to support the aircraft throughout its entire life cycle.”

In 2012, the French Air Force launched a modernization program to extend the operational life of the Xingus to 2025 through modernizing the avionics. This will keep the Xingu aircraft in operation for 42 consecutive years – a rarity in the aerospace industry. The support of the aircraft is carried out by Embraer, providing spare parts and technical documentation and support in cooperation with France’s Daher-Socata (supporting the  logistics) and Airbus Defence & Space as the maintenance provider.

“We are very satisfied with the Xingu which continues to have undeniable qualities that make it perfectly suited for the job,” said Général de Corps Aérien Serge Soulet, Commandant des forces aériennes et du soutien des Forces aériennes. “The new features of the Xingu, now equipped with a new avionics system, together with the flight qualities of the original, allow pilots to effectively bridge the gap between their initial training and the flying of military aircraft, even the most modern such as the A400M or the MRTT”.

Source and image: Embraer

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