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Brazil looks to receive fewer KC-390 airlifters

The Brazilian Air Force (FAB) revealed on 26 May that it is to enter negotiations with Embraer to review the total number of KC-390 Millennium multimission transport aircraft it will receive.

The FAB is seeking to accept fewer production aircraft than the 28 it originally ordered in May 2014 for BRL7.2 billion (USD1.37 billion) and to reduce the cadence of deliveries to just two aircraft each year.

The FAB cites budget limitations fuelled by the Covid-19 pandemic as a reason for seeking fewer airframes, as well as the high performance and availability demonstrated by the first four aircraft, which were commissioned between 2019 and 2020 for the Zeus Squadron located at Wing 2 in Anápolis.

The production of fewer aircraft for the FAB could emerge as a significant blow for Embraer, as the KC-390 programme generates around 5,300 jobs for the company.

The KC-390 fleet was acquired by the FAB as part of the KC-X strategic programme to gradually replace its C-130M and KC-130M Hercules aircraft. Development of the KC-390, including two prototypes, was ordered in April 2009, although the first prototype suffered a major ground incident on 5 May 2018.

Three aircraft are due for delivery in 2021, three in 2022, four in 2023, three in 2024, four in 2025, four in 2026, and the last three in 2027, according to the delivery schedule.

Five aircraft are in currently production for Brazil, Embraer revealed in late April.

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