Embraer Defense and Security is on course to complete the first prototype of the KC-390 tactical airlifter/tanker in time for it to make its first flight before the end of the year. At the specially built assembly site at Gavião Pexoto the fuselage of the first aircraft has already been partly painted in the colors of the Brazilian air force, which is the lead customer for the aircraft. The second aircraft is also in final assembly, and is scheduled to fly soon after the first machine.
Brazilian Air Force
Some seven months after Brazil’s selection of the Saab Gripen NG in December 2013 to fulfill the country’s F-X2 new fighter requirement, Embraer and Saab announced on Friday a memorandum of understanding to partner in delivering the program for the Brazilian air force.
The first EC725 to be fully assembled in Brazil was handed over to the Brazilian navy on June 17, Airbus Helicopters said. The previous 11 EC725s received by the Brazilian armed forces were only partially assembled in Brazil, or supplied direct from Airbus Helicopters’ production line in France.
The Brazilian air force formally committed to the KC-390 airlifter last month, signing a $3.2 billion contract for 28 aircraft in a ceremony at Embraer’s São Paulo facility. The event was attended by Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff. Final assembly of the first of two KC-390 prototypes is slated to start this month.
The Brazilian Air Force (FAB) awarded Israel’s Elbit Systems a contract to supply a Hermes 900 unmanned aircraft system (UAS), “which will be equipped with a new and advanced intelligence-gathering system considered a breakthrough operational solution,” Elbit announced on March 26.
PT Dirgantara Indonesia (Booth E35), also known as Indonesia Aerospace (IAe), delivered its first complete main fuselage assembly for the EC225/725 helicopter series to Airbus Helicopters (formerly Eurocopter) last December. The company had previously supplied five upper fuselage sections, as well as 23 tail booms, in a $43 million long-term deal struck in 2008 that called for a total of 125 component sets. Now IAe has been entrusted to supply integrated fuselages. This year, it will supply one every 10 weeks, and one tail boom every three weeks.
A UK inquiry into the April 2009 fatal crash of a Eurocopter AS332L2 Super Puma in the North Sea begins today in Aberdeen, Scotland. Operated by Bond Helicopters, the rotorcraft suffered a main rotor gearbox failure and crashed into the sea off the Aberdeenshire coast while returning from an oil platform. The accident killed the two pilots and all 14 passengers aboard.
Brazil has chosen the Saab Gripen E as its new fighter aircraft, after years of indecision. Defense Minister Celso Amorim and Brazilian air force commander Bg. Juniti Saito announced their preference for the Swedish jet over the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and Dassault Rafale after authorization from President Dilma Rousseff. Previous attempts to decide the FX-2 competition failed at the political level.
The UK’s Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) has released a further update on its investigation into the August 23 ditching of a Eurocopter AS332L2 Super Puma off the Shetlands islands. The latest document reveals that during the approach the pilot’s attention was drawn several times to a too-low-height warning.
The fatal crash of a CHC Scotia-operated Eurocopter AS332L2 Super Puma on August 23 off the Shetland Islands in the UK has created an outcry among passengers and is puzzling experts. Investigators have found no evidence of technical failure so far, nor have they hinted at human factors. Meanwhile, a pilot based in the North Sea noted that the helicopter seriously deviated from the expected course, two nautical miles from its destination, Sumburgh Airport.
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