In its first mission to transport military personnel to participate in operational activities, the new 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 Cerro Moreno Air Base, in Antofagasta, in northern Chile, where, from October 10 to 21, the fourth edition of the Combined Multinational Air Exercise Salitre takes place.
Facing adverse weather and strong winds, the baptism flight lasted four hours and took place on the morning of last Saturday, October 8, crossing part of the vast Andes mountain range to the Atacama region, the driest desert in the world. .
Despite its debut in troop transport, the Commander of the Second Squadron of the Second Transport Group (2nd/2nd GT) – Corsair Squadron, Aviator Lieutenant Colonel Marcos Fassarella Olivieri, comments that the KC-30 has been carrying out international missions since its incorporation to the FAB in July of this year.
“We have already carried out flights to cities such as 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.
Aviator 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 requires a lot of planning, especially in terms of weather. The Andes is one of the largest mountain ranges in the world, and the high elevation causes certain conditions of turbulence due to the intense winds. So, we verified that this type of wind and these conditions would not affect the safety of the flight”, he highlighted.
Shortly after the KC-30 flight, six F-5M fighter jets and a KC-390 Millennium flew from Canoas Air Base, in Rio Grande do Sul, to Antofagasta.
The KC-390 performed in-flight refueling of fighter aircraft, transferring 14 tons of fuel, allowing 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, with a minimum rate of approximately 360 kilos per minute.
Saltpeter Exercise IV
In Antofagasta, the FAB participates in Exercise Salitre IV, air combat training promoted by the Chilean Air Force (FACh), which includes the participation of air and human resources from the Air Forces of Argentina, Brazil and Chile, a cell of the Space Force of the United States, in addition to observers from Canada, Peru, Mexico and Uruguay, for joint action in the NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) standard.
This is the fourth time that the FAB has participated 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 has the participation of seven FAB aircraft, belonging to:
– First Fighter Aviation Group (1°GAVCA) – Jambock and Pif-Paf Squadrons;
– First Squadron of the Fourteenth Aviation Group (1st/14th GAV) – Pampa Squadron;
– First Troop Transport Group (1st GTT) – Zeus Squadron; and
– First Squadron of the First Transport Group (1st/1st GT) – Fat Squadron.
In all, from the FAB are six F-5M fighter jets, a KC-390 Millennium, in addition to the KC-30, which mobilized to Chile and will demobilize the Brazilian delegation on its return to the country.
With the acquisition of the first Airbus A330-200, which was incorporated with the registration number FAB 2901 and will be converted into Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT), the 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 will also be able to carry out Aeromedical Evacuation Missions (EVAM) for a large number of patients.
Two Airbus A330-200 aircraft were acquired in a bidding process, won by the company Azul Linhas Aéreas, and will operate with registrations FAB 2901 and FAB 2902. The arrival of the second unit of the Airbus A330-200 should take place in October.
The KC-30, 59 meters long, is the largest aircraft ever operated by the Brazilian Air Force, being able to carry up to 238 passengers, 45 tons of cargo and fly a distance of 14,500 kilometers.
Thus, the incorporation of the aircraft to the Esquadrão Corsário will result in a significant increase in the operational efficiency of the FAB in favor of the country’s defense and support for national development.
Brazilian Air Force information