Brazil Aviation News
BRASILIA – The Presidency of the Republic received on Wednesday a new helicopter to transport President Dilma Rousseff. The aircraft is a Eurocopter EC-725 dubbed VH-36 Caracal. It can carry ten passengers and three crew and has a range of four hours and thirty minutes.
Brazilian President Receives New Helicopter
The Special Transportation Group (GTE) of the Brazilian Air Force (FAB) christened the new helicopter at Brasília Air Base. Defense Minister Celso Amorim and the commander of the Air Force, Brigadier Juniti Saito, attended the ceremony.
Currently, the president flies a Super Puma helicopter, from the same family as the new equipment. The GTE uses helicopters to transport the president to and from places where fixed-wing aircraft can not fly.
Helibras, a Brazil-based helicopter manufacturer which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Eurocopter, manufactured VH-36 Caracal. It is part of a R$5.2 billion real ($2.6 billion dollar) package of 50 units purchased by the government for the presidency and the armed forces.
VH-36 Caracal is the fourth delivery so far of the fifty units ordered. According to the Ministry of Defense, in October, the Army, Navy and Air Force will each take delivery of one of the new helicopters. In 2013, the Presidency will receive one more unit.
The fifty-helicopter deal, signed in 2008, is part of a strategy of investment in the national defense industry. Helibras, which delivered the helicopters in partnership with the French company Eurocopter, will begin manufacturing the equipment in Brazil in 2013, according to the Ministry of Defense.
Helibras was founded in January 1978 in Sao Jose dos Campos, São Paulo state. The company has been located in Itajubá, a city and municipality in southwestern Minas Gerais state, since 1980.
Helibras leads the Brazilian market of the turbine helicopters in operation, with 54% stake in the civilian market. Its emphasis on the government segment has paid off, with participation at 85%. The military market share is about 66%.
Helibras has already produced and delivered about 500 helicopters, 70% of them being Esquilos or Squirrels. Ten percent of total production is exported to Latin American countries such as Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Mexico, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Venezuela.