The Brazilian Air Force (FAB) took delivery of the 5th KC-390 Millennium military transport aircraft supplied by Embraer. The ceremony took place at the Anapolis Air Base, where the Zeus squadron, which operates the aircraft, is located, and was attended by President Jair Bolsonaro.
The event commemorated the 60th anniversary of the activation of the First Troop Transport Group (1st GTT) and was an opportunity to pay tribute to various soldiers.
The Air Force had not received a new KC-390 for nearly a year. The 4th aircraft was delivered by Embraer at the end of last year. At the time, Air Brigadier Lieutenant Antonio Carlos Moretti Bermudez, then Air Force Commander, planned to receive three KC-390s in 2021.
The Air Force schedule also established the delivery of three Millennium jets in 2022, four in 2023, three in 2023, four in 2025, four in 2026 and three in 2027, completing the order for 28 planes.
Unilateral contract reduction
However, the current Air Force Commander, Lieutenant Brigadier of the Air Carlos de Almeida Baptista Junior, decided to review the contract signed with the Brazilian planemaker in April. The proposal was to reduce the order from 28 to just 15 units, due to the lack of financial resources.
Recently, after negotiations with Embraer ended without an agreement, Baptista Junior announced that the government had decided to unilaterally change the contract.
Embraer, in a note to the market, stated that it “will seek legal measures relating to the economic and financial rebalancing of the Contracts, as well as evaluating the effects of the reduction of the Contracts on its business and results.”
The decision of the Brazilian Air Force, which was the main supporter of the airlifter project, resonated badly in public opinion, motivating President Bolsonaro to carry out demonstrations of appreciation for the KC-390 and Embraer.
During the Dubai Airshow, last month, the Brazilian representative visited the Embraer stand and met with company executives. At Wednesday’s event, Bolsonaro reappeared in images celebrating the delivery of the aircraft.