The Brazilian Air Force (FAB) and Embraer reached an agreement to reduce the order of 28 KC-390 Millennium military transport aircraft.
Instead of the 15 units requested, the Air Force will receive 22 aircraft, reducing the order by six KC-390s. However, deliveries will be extended until 2034. So far, Embraer has delivered five aircraft, leaving 17 aircraft to be produced.
The Air Force Commander, Lieutenant Brigadier Carlos de Almeida Baptista Junior, did not comment on the outcome of the negotiations, just sharing a post on Embraer’s social network that announces the agreement.
Baptista Junior was in the spotlight on the change in plans of the Brazilian Air Force. Chosen by President Jair Bolsonaro in March last year, the military took the place of Brigadier Antônio Carlos Bermudez.
At the beginning of the administration, the new Commander revealed to the press his intention to cut the order for 28 KC-390s, citing budgetary problems. Up until then, Embraer and the Air Force had talked internally about the matter, but Baptista Junior went public, creating a strain on the relationship between the two partners.
After months of unsuccessful negotiations, the Air Force Commander again publicly stated that the federal government would unilaterally amend the contract with the manufacturer.
In the face of the controversy, Bolsonaro praised Embraer, including a visit to the stand at the Dubai Airshow and participating in the delivery of the 5th KC-390 to the FAB.
More Gripen fighters instead
Last week, in an interview with a Brazilian newspaper, Baptista Junior said that the FAB and Embraer were close to an agreement, but without revealing the number of aircraft to be removed from the contract.
At the time, he considered the original order impractical. “Buying 28, we will only receive them in 14 years, it makes no sense for us or for Embraer. There are obsolescence processes to look at,” he said.
But under the new arrangement, it will take the Air Force 12 years to receive the 17 KC-390s pending delivery. In the original schedule, Embraer would deliver the last jets in 2027.
At the same time that he negotiated the change in the contract with the Brazilian manufacturer, Baptista Junior is already forwarding the order for a second batch of 30 Saab Gripen E fighters, in addition to the 36 planes that are being produced.
Embraer now has 29 firm orders for the KC-390 – 22 from Brazil, five from Portugal and two from Hungary.