The Brazilian Air Force should have a maximum of 16 KC-390 aircraft in operation in the coming years, said Brigadier Carlos de Almeida Baptista Jr, its new commander, to the newspaper Valor Economico.
The original order for the new airlifter produced by Embraer foresaw 28 aircraft, four of which have already been delivered until last year. However, Baptista Jr explained that the budget cuts in the Force forced a review of the agreement.
“I informed Embraer that I would like a consensual renegotiation because I intend to reduce the order below 21 planes. We are studying the number, but it should be between 13 and 16. I informed Embraer that it will be a 50% reduction in the contract,” he said.
Because Embraer has directed the assembly of the 12th plane, the minimum number of aircraft is now 13 units. According to the brigadier, the Air Force can unilaterally reduce the order by 25 percent, or seven aircraft.
Despite the determination to cut costs, the new commander expressed a desire to order a second batch of Saab Gripen E/F fighters.
“We bought the first batch, but our expectation is that it will be something around 60 or 70 aircraft. This agreement includes 36. Soon, it will be time to start talking about a second batch. A country the size of Brazil cannot count with just 36 fighter planes,” said Baptista Jr.
Also according to him, the Brazilian Air Force has 50 percent of the resources for the KC-390 and F-39 Gripen programs in 2021, but that this will not prevent the first four fighters from being delivered by the end of the year.