In its first operational mission, KC-30 transports troops to ChileIn its first operational mission, KC-30 transports troops to Chile

The largest aircraft in the history of FAB is taking military personnel to participate in the Salitre IV Multinational Exercise, which takes place from October 10 to 21, in Antofagasta, Chile

Air Force Agency, by Lieutenant Flávia Rocha and Major Oliveira Lima

In its first mission to transport military personnel to participate in operational activities, the KC-30, the largest aircraft in the history of the Brazilian Air Force (FAB), mobilized 59 passengers and 18 tons of cargo from Rio de Janeiro (RJ) to the Cerro Moreno Air Base in Antofagasta, northern Chile, where the fourth edition of the Salitre Combined Multinational Air Exercise is being held from October 10 to 21.

Facing adverse weather and strong winds, the baptism flight lasted four hours and took place on Saturday morning (October 8), crossing part of the vast mountain range of the Andes to the Atacama region, the driest desert in the world.

The Commander of the Second Squadron of the Second Transport Group (2º/2º GT) – Corsair Squadron, Lieutenant Colonel Marcos Fassarella Olivieri, informed that the KC-30 has been flying international missions since its incorporation to FAB in July this year. “We have already flown to cities like Washington, Madrid, and Lisbon, but this was the first operational mission, which demonstrates the resumption of strategic transport in the Brazilian Air Force,” he stressed.

Captain Lucas Braga, pilot of the 2nd/2nd GT, explained that the flight was specially prepared to face the geographical specificities of the region. “The route we took demands a lot of planning, especially in terms of weather. The Andes Cordillera is one of the largest mountain ranges in the world, and the high elevation causes certain turbulent conditions because of the intense winds. So we checked that this type of wind and these conditions would not affect flight safety,” he said.

In-flight refueling

Right after the KC-30 flight, six F-5M fighters and one KC-390 Millennium flew from Canoas Air Base, in Rio Grande do Sul, to Antofagasta. The KC-390 in-flight refueled the fighter aircraft, transferring 14 tons of fuel, allowing the receiving aircraft to stay on mission longer, extending their autonomy and range. The KC-390 can transfer up to 25 tons of fuel to other aircraft at a minimum ratio of approximately 360 kilograms per minute.

Exercise Salitre IV

In Antofagasta, the FAB is participating in Exercise Salitre IV, an air combat training exercise promoted by the Chilean Air Force (FACh), which includes the participation of air and human resources from the Argentine, Brazilian and Chilean Air Forces, a US Space Force cell, and observers from Canada, Peru, Mexico and Uruguay, for joint operations under NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) standards.

This is the fourth time that the FAB is participating in the exercise, the last version of which was held eight years ago, in 2014. In this edition, the Brazilian delegation is made up of 75 military personnel and includes the participation of seven aircraft from FAB, belonging to the First Fighter Aviation Group (1°GAVCA) – Jambock and Pif-Paf Squadrons; the First Squadron of the Fourteenth Aviation Group (1º/14th GAV) – Pampa Squadron; the First Troop Transport Group (1º GTT) – Zeus Squadron; and the First Squadron of the First Transport Group (1º/1st GT) – Gordo Squadron.

In all, the FAB has six F-5M fighters, one KC-390 Millennium, in addition to the KC-30, which mobilized the Brazilian delegation to Chile and will demobilize them on their return home.

FAB’s KC-30

With the acquisition of the first Airbus A330-200, which was incorporated with the registration FAB 2901 and will be converted into Multi Role Tanker Transport, the MRTT, FAB increases its capacity in strategic actions, such as in-flight refueling, logistical support and humanitarian actions, whether national or international. In situations of public calamity, such as natural disasters, pandemics or medical emergencies, the aircraft can also perform Aeromedical Evacuation Missions (EVAM) for a large number of patients.

Two Airbus A330-200 aircraft were acquired in a bidding process, won by Azul Linhas Aéreas, and will operate with the registration numbers FAB 2901 and FAB 2902. The second Airbus A330-200 unit is scheduled to arrive in October.

The KC-30, 59 meters long, is the largest aircraft ever operated by the Brazilian Air Force, capable of carrying up to 238 passengers, 45 tons of cargo and flying a distance of 14.5 thousand kilometers. Thus, the incorporation of the aircraft to the Corsair Squadron will result in a significant increase in the operational efficiency of the FAB for the defense of the country and support for national development.

From Antofagasta (Chile), Lieutenant Flávia Rocha / CECOMSAER – Photos: FACh; Major Oliveira/1st/1stGT, Captain Oliveira / 1st/14th GAV and Petty Officer Joelson Nery / CECOMSAER *** Translated by the DEFCONPress FYI Team ***

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