At the beginning of August, the first C-95M aircraft belonging to the Brazilian Air Force (FAB ) will take flight and reach significantly new horizons. The Bandeirante aircraft, dating from 1973, are a major component of the FAB, and are undergoing a process of modernization.
In all, by 2013, 54 Bandeirante aircraft (Brazil operates 95, in C-95A/-B/-C and P-95 A and –B versions) will undergo the same modernization process. The project is coordinated in Rio de Janeiro, the General Command Support (COMGAP) via one of its subordinate units, Park Afonsos of Aeronautical Materials (PAMA -AF). Two aircraft will initially undergo a test phase, in October and November respectively, and will be delivered to Air Force units.
But these two takeoffs have significance beyond their actual scope: they symbolize the technological renovation of the FAB, and enhance the economy by developing high-impact projects for Brazil. "We did a study and concluded that the cost of modernization is much lower than the replacement, "says Maj. Paulo César Guerreiro Lima, project coordinator.
The aircraft will be upgraded in three phases. At first, the navigation instruments are fully replaced and a glass cockpit will be fitted, with LCD displays. In the second step, major systems, such as the mechanical and hydraulic circuits, are converted to other more reliable and advanced technologies.
The final phase completes the modernization cycle and provides the finishing touches with paint, upholstery and other fittings of similar ilk. National companies in the field of aviation are involved in the first two steps, while the FAB -- through the PAMA-AF -- is responsible for the third.
After all this process, the aircraft will be ready to again serve their purpose - including maritime patrol, airborne assault , search and rescue, personnel transport and cargo and others - for more than twenty years.
According to Major Guerreiro, four aircraft will complete the modernization process and will return to the skies this year. "That's our expectation. We design work on seven more aircraft simultaneously, "explains Major. The devolution of modernized aircraft will be held on a rotating basis between the units of the FAB that have this plane in its fleet.
Brazilian Air Force Modernizes Bandeirante Aircraft