Brazil’s Força Aérea Brasileira (FAB) plans to retire its fleet of Mirage 2000 fighters at the end of this year. The announcement has brought new focus on Brazil’s longstanding but deferred FX-2 new fighter requirement. In testimony to the Brazilian Senate on August 13, FAB Commander Lt. Gen. Juniti Saito defended the need for new fighters to maintain an adequate air defense, as well as for the benefits any purchase would bring to Brazil’s own aerospace sector.
Brazilian Air Force
The 10th edition of the Latin American Business Aviation Conference & Exhibition (LABACE) opens tomorrow at Congonhas Airport in São Paulo. Brazil’s civil aviation minister, Moreira Franco, and the commandant of the Brazilian air force, Air Brigadier Saito, are expected to be the guests of honor at the opening ceremony and ribbon cutting.
An Embraer EMB-110P1 Bandeirante crashed on approach to Francistown Airport (FBFT), Botswana, on June 29, killing both crewmembers. The airplane departed from Lanseria and had planned a landing in Francistown as a fuel stop. The aircraft made one instrument approach that resulted in a missed approach. During the go-around, the crew reported seeing the runway and was circling visually to land when the aircraft crashed.
Making its Paris debut in the static display is a Swiss air force Eurocopter AS332 Super Puma that has undergone the TH06 ISR upgrade by Ruag Aviation (Chalet A118, Static R). The Swiss company has designed and installed a major avionics overhaul that allows the Super Puma fleet to continue to provide service for many years to come.
Brazil has long been known as the home of Embraer, which continues to vie for the rank of the world’s third-largest commercial aircraft producer behind Boeing and Airbus. Although the rest of the country’s aerospace and defense sector has tended to lag well behind the U.S. and Europe, the situation may be about to change.
Embraer (Chalet B387) is showing a Super Tucano in the static park here for the first time. “This aircraft has a great future; air forces from all over the world have been asking us about it since we won the U.S. Air Force competition,” Embraer Defense and Security CEO Luiz Carlos Aguiar told AIN. Also here at Paris, Aguiar is promising a new announcement about the KC-390, the Brazilian design that could be a serious competitor in the future market for airlifters.
At the Latin American Aerospace and Defense (LAAD) Show, Embraer announced a new customer for the EMB-314 Super Tucano. The Senegalese Air Force signed a contract for three aircraft and in-country training of pilots and mechanics by Embraer. Senegal will use the aircraft for border surveillance and internal security. The deal takes the number of the type ordered to 210.
Vector Aerospace Financial Services Ireland (VFS) is offering the medium- to heavy-lift market a fleet of customized Super Puma AS332Ls, including leasing and by-the-hour support. The offer is targeting the UN, NATO and EU markets. VFS was formed last year by Vector Aerospace, a provider of helicopter maintenance, repair and overhaul services, to provide combined lease and support solutions.
Embraer Defense and Security and AEL Systems, the Brazilian subsidiary of Israel’s Elbit Systems, signed an agreement to accept unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) developer Avibras as a shareholder in their UAS-focused joint venture, Harpia Systems.
AgustaWestland is making a new push into South America. The Italian helicopter maker, part of the defense and industrial conglomerate Finmeccanica, signed a memorandum of understanding on January 21 to establish a joint venture with Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer to build AgustaWestland helicopters in Brazil for both the domestic and regional military and civilian markets.