The Brazilian Air Force (FAB) has not carried out flights with its Lockheed C-130 Hercules since December 16, according to ADS-B tracking records.
Military freighters formed the Air Force’s transport base for several decades, but are being replaced by the more modern, faster and capable Embraer KC-390 Millennium jets.
As Air Data News recently reported, only two Hercules were active at the end of last year, with registrations FAB 2476 and FAB 2462, this one a KC-130, capable of refueling other aircraft in flight.
FAB 2476 last recorded a flight between the air bases of Santa Maria and Galeão, where it is based as part of the “Gordo” Squadron 1º/1º GT.
The KC-130 FAB 2462 had made a local flight in Rio de Janeiro the day before and had not been deployed since.
On November 1st, a third Hercules (FAB 2472) would have ended its operational career after flying from Brazil’s capital to the Galeão Air Base.
The absence of missions in the FAB’s remaining C-130 fleet coincides with the deactivation plan established by the force, which called for the end of flights with the four-engine aircraft in 2023.
The Air Force operated more than two dozen Hercules over several years and the aircraft was always considered essential for carrying out missions of wide scope.
At the beginning of the century, however, the FAB decided to replace them with a jet aircraft, capable of carrying more cargo and at higher speeds.
Embraer was consulted and the Brazilian government laid the foundations for the KC-X program, which gave rise to the C-390 Millennium.
Since 2019, the FAB has received the new aircraft as part of an original order for 28 jets, but which ended up being reduced to 19 units.
To date, there are six KC-390s in service in addition to a seventh plane (FAB 2852) passed on to Embraer for presentations abroad.
The delivery of another Millennium was expected at the end of 2023, however, the aircraft, designated FAB 2859, was not sent by Embraer to the Air Force as far as is known.
Despite the 20-day flight hiatus, it is possible that the C-130 will still remain active, as a reserve for the KC-390.