Brazilian Air Force intends to cut back order of KC-390 airlifters

The order had been reduced from 28 to 22 aircraft, but the Air Force commander will negotiate a reduction to just 15 Embraer jets

Embraer is expected to have the total backlog of orders for the KC-390 reduced to just 17 aircraft in the coming months. The reason is that the Commander of the Brazilian Air Force, Lieutenant Brigadier Carlos de Almeida Baptista Junior, intends to make another cut in the original order of 28 military freighters.

According to Baptista Junior’s report to Brazilian outlets, the FAB should only receive 15 Embraer aircraft, or seven less than the current revised order (22 KC-390).

In February, the Air Force and the Brazilian airframer reached an agreement that canceled six planes, but, according to the Force Commander, it was not enough. “The problem is budget unpredictability. We can’t afford it in the short term,” he said.

Brazilian Air Force KC-390 (FAB)

In a statement to investors, Embraer stated that the contract provides for 22 aircraft and reinforced “its commitment to the KC-390/C-390 Millennium project, a new generation multi-mission aircraft, as well as its belief in the export potential of this product, which brings unique innovations in its category and which has already been acquired by two European nations”.

If confirmed, the new reduction will leave only ten aircraft to be delivered to Brazil, in addition to five KC-390s for Portugal and two for Hungary, the only foreign customers for the multi-mission jet.

Embraer unmanned aircraft (for illustrative purposes only)

In addition to cutting funding for the KC-390 program and ending the STOUT hybrid turboprop project, Baptista Junior also canceled the agreement with Embraer to study an advanced unmanned attack aircraft, signed in April 2021.

Although no details have been released, the design illustration suggested a jet aircraft with stealth characteristics. At the time, the Air Force Commander had stated that it was “a unique opportunity for the Brazilian Air Force to deepen its studies in disruptive technologies that may cause an imbalance in the current and future scenario”.

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