New KC-30 aircraft is incorporated into the Brazilian Air Force (FAB)New KC-30 aircraft is incorporated into the Brazilian Air Force (FAB)

With the acquisition, FAB increases its strategic capacity

Air Force Agency, by Lieutenant Wanessa Liz

The first Airbus A330-200 to be converted into a tanker under the KC-30 program of the Brazilian Air Force (FAB), landed at Galeão Air Base (BAGL), on Tuesday (July 26). The aircraft received its characteristic FAB gray paint job at the Maintenance Center, in Ireland, and after that, it flew to Victorville (USA), where the contractual delivery of the aircraft took place. Last Sunday (July 24), it took off to Brazil. Two aircraft were purchased in a bidding process, won by Azul Linhas Aéreas and will be operated under the registration numbers FAB 2901 and FAB 2902 by the Second Squadron of the Second Transport Group (2º/2º GT) – Corsair Squadron, based in Rio de Janeiro (RJ).

The second unit of the Airbus A330-200 is in a similar process at the Joramco aircraft maintenance company, located in Jordan. With the acquisition, FAB increases its capacity in strategic actions, such as in-flight refueling, logistical support, humanitarian actions and aeromedical evacuation, whether national or international.

The ceremony when FAB received the KC-30 and incorporated it to the Corsair Squadron was presided over by the Commandant of the Air Force, Air Lieutenant Brigadier Carlos de Almeida Baptista Junior, and was attended by the High Command of the Air Force, General Officers of the Brazilian Navy and the Brazilian Army, as well as Commanders, Chiefs and Directors of Military Organizations and other civil and military authorities.

In his words, the FAB Commander highlighted the importance of the moment for the defense of the country and the support for national development, beginning the reading of the Order of the Day with the thought of the German writer Johann Goethe. “When a human creature awakens to a great dream and throws all the strength of his soul into it, the whole universe conspires in his favor,” quoted the General Officer, who also spoke about receiving the new aircraft. “Starting today, the FAB 2901 and its incorporation to the 2nd/2nd GT symbolize the beginning of a new era for FAB, which will continue, soon, with the receipt of the second aircraft acquired, with the completion of the training process of our crew members and with the signing of the conversion contract for the Multi Role Tanker Transport, the MRTT, still in 2022,” he concluded.

In the opportunity, the Preparations Commander, Air Lieutenant Brigadier Sergio Roberto de Almeida, spoke about the receiving of one more aircraft for the Transport Aviation. “The receipt of the KC-30 and its incorporation to the Air Force multiplies the level in relation to strategic transport. It was a gap we had lost in relation to the capacity to transport large loads over long distances. In addition, in the future, we will be able to expand our benefits with in-flight refueling, which will give us greater flexibility and speed in cargo transport,” he concluded.

Arrival of the aircraft in Brazil

The first KC-30 aircraft, FAB 2901, which is now incorporated to the Corsair Squadron, made its first cab at BAGL receiving a welcome from the Galeão Air Base Fire Department.

The Commander of BAGL, Aviator Colonel Renato Alves de Oliveira, spoke about the importance of receiving an operationally efficient aircraft at the Base. “Today is a historic day not only for BAGL, but also for FAB. The arrival of the KC-30 represents the resumption of strategic transportation and reaffirms BAGL as the main multimodal hub of FAB”, he highlights.

With the new acquisition, FAB combines the possibilities of the KC-390 Millennium with the strategic employment characteristics of the KC-30, resulting in a significant increase in its operational efficiency. The two new aircraft, each 59 meters long, will be the largest ever operated by the Air Force.

The aircraft will be modified by Airbus to the MRTT version, which will allow for in-flight refueling missions, logistical air transport (cargo and passengers) and humanitarian aid. In situations of public calamity, such as natural disasters, pandemics or medical emergencies, the aircraft will also be able to perform Aeromedical Evacuation Missions (EVAM) for a large number of patients.

Training and preparation to operate the KC-30

The FAB pilots that will operate the new KC-30 started their training at the Azul Linhas Aéreas University, in June. The training also included flight attendants and mechanics from the Corsair Squadron. For the military to be able to operate the new Air Force aircraft, a specific course was required, such as all piloting, maintenance and safety processes.

“Receiving the aircraft marks the operational reactivation of the Squadron, which had been without aircraft for three years. This new aircraft, the largest ever operated by FAB, puts back the strategic capacity to our Force. It can fly more than 15 hours, from Galeão to China, and, in the future, can also do in-flight refueling. This way, it promotes national integration and carries out humanitarian aid actions”, highlights the Corsair Squadron Commander, Major Olivieri.

To celebrate the receipt of the aircraft, the Transport Aviation Meeting (RAT) took place at BAGL, gathering FAB military personnel who carry out missions in this aviation. In addition, several aircraft from FAB’s Operational Units were flown over, including the KC-390 Millennium, the C-130 Hercules, the C-105 Amazonas, the C-99, C-97 Brasilia and the C-95 Bandeirante.

The Director of Institutional Relations of Azul Linhas Aéreas, Fábio Barros Franco de Campos, handed the symbolic key of FAB 2901 to the Commander of the Air Force, Lieutenant Brigadier Baptista Junior and participated in the baptism as a way to symbolize the receipt of the first aircraft by the Brazilian Air Force. In his words, he talked about the partnership with the Institution. “Azul has the DNA of being a truly Brazilian company. For us, the importance of the partnership with the FAB reflects some of this DNA. Since its foundation, Azul has been working to serve Brazil, connecting Brazilian cities, going beyond São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Brasilia, exploring the corners of our country, just like the mission of the FAB. The delivery of the aircraft demonstrates the importance of this partnership, it was serving Brazil in a civilian way, now it will fulfill another mission for our country with the FAB,” he added.

Esquadrão Corsário (Corsair Squadron)

The 2nd/2nd Transport Group was activated by Ordinance 008/GM3, of January 18, 1968, as of January 20, 1968, at Galeão Air Base, where it has been based ever since. The Squadron operated, initially, the Douglas DC-6B, designated C-118 in FAB, provided support to the activities of the National Air Mail (CAN) and Project RONDON, actions that contributed to integrate the communities from the North of Brazil to other regions.

In 1986 and 1987, FAB acquired Boeing 707 units from VARIG (a Brazilian civil air transport company), being called KC-137. The 2nd/2nd GT was selected to operate the aircraft and quickly became operational, having absorbed some officers of the First Squadron of the First Transport Group (1º/1st GT) – Gordo Squadron and the First Troop Transport Group (1º/1st GTT) and performed the operational conversion to the KC-137 under VARIG instruction.

The Squadron had no aircraft allocated until July 2016, when it received a Boeing C-767 2900, which was used in several troop transport missions. In its first mission, 100 military personnel were transported from Manaus, Boa Vista and Porto Velho to Rio de Janeiro, to support the Olympic Games. The C-767 also made a presidential trip in July 2017. With the end of the 36-month leasing contract of the C-767, the aircraft was returned and, since then, the Squadron is without aircraft, with its crews participating in missions in other FAB transport squadrons.

*** Note: video with original audio in portuguese ***

Photos: Sergeant Müller Marin and Sergeant Figueira/ CECOMSAER and Fábio Maciel / DECEA -Video: Petty Officer Barros, Sergeant Ronan and Sergeant Figueira/ CECOMSAER *** Translated by the DEFCONPress Team ***

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