The National Air Force of Angola (Força Aérea Nacional Angolana, FANA) received eight new AT-27s in 1998. Six more AT-27s were purchased four years later from the Peruvian Air Force. The AT-27s were assigned to carry out air strikes and surveillance missions during the Angolan Civil War. Two further stored EMB-312 demonstrators were delivered to cover aircraft losses during the war.
In June 1987, the Argentine Air Force received the first batch of 15 aircraft from a total of 30 aircraft on order, and the type was assigned to replace the Morane-Saulnier MS.760 Paris. Based at the Military Aviation School in Cordoba, the Tucanos were used as trainer aircraft for the Joint Basic Course of Military Aviation (CBCAM) program, producing pilots for the Argentine Air Force, Navy and Army. In the first 25 years of its service with the Argentine Air Force, the aircraft accumulated 104,000 flight hours and trained over 800 pilots. FAdeA is developing the IA-73, a primary trainer to replace EMB-312 Tucano. The type will be relocated to the northern Argentina where they will be armed and used for air interdiction and surveillance role.
A total of 118 T-27s were purchased by the Brazilian Air Force (FAB) with an option for a further 50 aircraft. On 29 September 1983, the first units were delivered as an aerobatic demonstration aircraft for the Brazilian Air Force Demonstration Squadron, the "Smoke Squadron" (Esquadrilha da Fumaça), and the first demonstration took place in December the same year. In 1990, the FAB confirmed an order of 10 units from the 50 options held from the original Tucano contract in 1980. Eventually, the FAB received the remaining 40 aircraft, raising the total number of delivered units to 168.
As part of the FAB's four-year pilot training program at the Academia da Força Aérea (AFA), the EMB-312 is flown on the last year as an advanced training vector. After flying 75 hours on the Neiva Universal basic training aircraft, the student pilots progress to fly 125 hours of advanced training on the Tucano in which cadets learn to dominate the airplane with acrobatics, precision manoeuvring, instrumental flight and fly-pasts. Brazilian Naval Aviation cadets are required to fly 100 hours on the Tucano at the AFA during the first stage of the three-year training program. According to a Brazilian Air Force brigadier, the AFA Tucanos are forecast to be withdrawn in 2022.
During Operação Traíra, in February 1991, six Tucanos were used for close air support against a group of 40 rebels from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia, FARC), which had seized a Brazilian military detachment. AT–27s were extensively used in the Amazon for border patrols and interception of illicit flights, jointly operating with SIVAM (Amazon Surveillance System).
Fourteen AT-27s were ordered in 1992, and delivery of the first six units took place in December of the same year, followed by seven more units arriving later that same month. Assigned to the Combat 212 Squadron, the aircraft were initially conceived as trainers although the type was soon additionally assigned to perform close air support and air superiority missions as part of counter-insurgency operations during the long-standing and brutal fight with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia FARC). The type performed dozens of operations including Vuelo de Angel, Thanatos, Fenix and Júpiter. Over 50,000 flight hours have been completed since the type's introduction without a single loss.
In 1998, with Peruvian Air Force assistance, night vision goggles were integrated into the aircraft in order to perform night missions. The war scenario led the Air Force to push the type beyond its designed horizon to overcome its operational limits and role-playing as a real battlefield maturing test platform, providing valuable lessons which unfolded into new requirements that were implemented in the Super Tucano design.
In 2011, Embraer began a three-year program to locally uprate 14 EMB-312s. A part of the Strategic Development Plan (Plan Estratégico Institucional, or PEI) 2011–2030 designed to extend the type's lifespan by 15 years, the structural retrofit program involves fitting the airframe with new wings and landing gear. Fresh avionics will be installed with the up-to-date Rockwell Collins Inertial Navigation System (INS) and Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS), while Cobham will supply modern Multi-Function Displays (MFDs), Flight Management Systems (FMS) and the Engine-Indicating and Crew-Alerting System (EICAS). The first prototype will be designed and produced by Embraer in Brazil while remaining work will be completed at the Corporation of the Colombian Aeronautic Industry SA (Corporación de la Industria Aeronáutica Colombiana S.A, or CIAC).
In December 1983, a $181 USD million contract was signed for 10 complete aircraft plus a further 110 aircraft in kit form. The joint Egyptian/Iraqi purchase involved an extensive technology transfer program which included the manufacturing of some aircraft parts and final assembly at Heliopolis Air Works in Helwan, becoming Embraer's first experience in assembling aircraft abroad. Eighty out of the 110 units built in Egypt were delivered to Iraq. The first aircraft arrived in late 1984 and the first unit assembled in Egypt was delivered in 1985. An additional order for 14 aircraft was made in 1989, bringing the total to 54 Tucanos.
Following a world trend towards the replacement of jet trainers with lower-cost turboprop trainers, in July 1990 the French Air Force initially ordered 80 slightly modified variants, designated as the EMB-312F. The two-year-long negotiation deal was an offset for 36 AS365s and 16 AS350s bought by the Brazilian Army and 30 AS355 Ecureuils for the Brazilian Navy. Two pre-production aircraft were built for a year-long evaluation process at the General Directorate for Armament (Centre d'Essais en Vol, CEV), the first pre-production EMB-312F flew in April 1993. The total number of aircraft ordered was reduced to 50, with commissioning of the first production model taking place in 1995. The aircraft were based in Salon-de-Provence, replacing the Fouga Magister which had provided training for Air Force students for nearly forty years. Following the type's introduction, the Air Force training scheme began with the Epsilon, continued on the Tucano and culminated with the Alpha Jet for lead-in fighter training. After 15 years in service, the French Tucano fleet was withdrawn on 22 July 2009, despite the fact that most aircraft had only reached half of their potential operational life.
Honduras was the first foreign customer of the Tucano, the type replaced North American T-28 Trojan. Twelve EMB-312s were received between 1982 and 1983. The aircraft are used for both advanced training and patrolling the Honduran skies in search for illegal flights.
On 14 April 2003, the type was used to shoot down an Aero Commander 500 with 7.62 mm (0.30 in) machine gun pods. The two Colombian occupants died during the crash while 942 kilograms (2,077 lb) of cocaine were collected from the wreckage. In August 2010, a Piper Seneca aircraft coming from Colombia was tracked down by an AT-27. Five criminals were arrested and 550 kilograms (1,210 lb) of cocaine were seized. Three months later, a Tucano was used to intercept an aircraft with 550 kilograms (1,210 lb) of cocaine.
In February 2012, the military of Honduras and Embraer began a study of the aging AT-27 cells for a possible reconditioning program. Later on that month, the Honduras defence minister disclosed that the reconditioning of six aircraft would cost $10 USD million. In May of the same year, a Tucano intercepted an aircraft from which 400 kilograms (880 lb) of cocaine was seized. In the following month, a Honduran Tucano shot down a drug smuggling twin-engine prop Cessna over the Bay Islands killing the two occupants, including an undercover DEA agent. Honduran law does not permit shooting down illegal flights, and for this reason, the event led to the dismissal of the Honduran general that ordered the shoot down.
Iran received 25 aircraft between 1989 and 1991. Between 2000 and 2001, the IRGC used Tucanos against Taliban positions and in drug-busting operations in the eastern Iranian borders.
Iraq bought 80 aircraft produced under license by Helwan, with deliveries being completed in 1987. Following the end of the Gulf and Iraq wars, Iraq had no EMB-312 in its inventory.
In 2011, the Islamic Air Force of Mauritania received pilot training from the French Air Force and four ex-French EMB-312Fs, which still had two thirds of their structural life, were delivered. The aircraft underwent a complete overhaul before being delivered, receiving wing hard points for gun pods and new radios. The type is based at Atar in the northwest of the country, where they are used in attack missions against Al-Qaeda Organization in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) guerrillas. In March 2012, Mauritanian EMB-312Fs intruded into Mali air space while attacking AQIM terrorist targets inside Mali; the two countries are cooperating in military action against these terrorists.
Paraguay received six aircraft in 1987. Six more were purchased in the late 1990s, but the deal fell through, and these machines ended up being the second batch sold to Angola. On 29 December 2010, three used ex-Brazilian aircraft were exchanged for four EMB-326GB (Xavante) trainer aircraft and one Boeing-707 transport aircraft. In 2011, the Paraguayan Tucanos with assistance from the Brazilian Air Force, went through a complete engine overhaul.
The 3o Escuadrón de caza "Moros" in Asunción operates the Tucanos in COIN missions, forming the squads "Gamma" and "Omega" since 1996. In April 2011, Paraguayan Tucano fitted with 20 mm autocannon gun pods and ferry tanks were deployed at Mariscal Estigarribia Air Base to monitor illicit flights entering Paraguayan airspace from Bolivia.
In 1986, Peru ordered 20 Tucanos to replace the Cessna T-37 Tweet. Deliveries to the Fuerza Aérea del Perú (FAP) Peruvian Air Force commenced in April 1987 at the rate of two units per month; the last delivery took place in November 1987. In 1991, an additional 10 Tucanos were purchased for anti-drug operations, reaching a total of 30 aircraft, although six of them were resold to Angola in 2002. The first EMB-312s took part in the Escuadrón de Instrucción básica No. 512 from the Air Academy as part of the Grupo de Entrenamiento 51 based at Las Palmas – Lima. Another squadron of EMB-312s was assigned to Escuadrón Aéreo Táctico No. 514. The first aircraft were painted in orange and white for trainers and gradually replaced by jungle camouflage, while a few were painted dark gray for night missions. Most of these aircraft were adorned with an aggressive shark's mouth. The aircraft cockpit was later modified to suit Night Vision Goggles (NVG) and Forward looking infrared (FLIR) sensors for night operations. Since 1991, the FAP Tucanos were actively involved in ground attack operations over the Cenepa River on drug-busting operations, shooting down over 65 planes and performing attacks on several illicit ships. Between 1992 and 2001 the Air Bridge Denial Program provided intelligence for the Air Force in counter-drug operations; during the program, at least nine civilian aircraft were shot down by AT-27s. During the Cenepa War, loaded with four Mk.82 bombs and equipped with NVG, a fleet of Tucanos carried out a night bomber raid targeting Ecuadorian Forces over the Cordillera del Cóndor at dawn on 5 February 1995.
The aircraft was part of the 2002 Quiñones Plan, which was implemented in 2007 and aimed at putting unserviceable equipment back into service. In March 2012, the Peruvian Air Force was considering an option to modernize 20 EMB-312s in a program jointly conducted by the Brazilian Air Force and Embraer under a wide-ranging defence agreement signed with the Brazilian defence ministry.
On 14 July 1986, the Venezuelan Air Force received the first four Embraer EMB-312 Tucano AT/T-27s from an order of 30 aircraft that was worth $50 million USD. A year later, the remaining aircraft were delivered, divided into two variants: 20 T-27s for training purposes and 12 AT-27s for tactical support. The Tucanos were assigned to Grupo 14 at the Escuadrón de Entrenamiento No.142 "Escorpiones" based in Maracay, to the Grupo 13 at the Escuadrón de Operaciones Especiales No.131 "Zorros" based in Barcelona, and to the Grupo de Operaciones Especiales No.15 at the Escuadrón No.152 "Avispones" based in Maracaibo. The AT-27, along with the OV-10 Bronco, were actively involved in many anti-guerrilla, anti-narcotic and anti-kidnapping campaigns close to the Colombian borders.
On 27 November 1992, the aircraft were used by mutineering officers who staged a coup d'état against former President Carlos Andrés Pérez. The rebels dropped bombs and launched rockets against police and government buildings in Caracas. One EMB-312 and two OV-10 Broncos were shot down during the uprising by F-16s flown by loyalist pilots. A lot of 12 are scheduled to be refurbished in Venezuela as of 2013.