LAAD 2019: Airbus, from air to space

David Oliver

Airbus Defence and Space promoted its complete product portfolio, from transport aircraft to latest space and security solutions. It showcased the versatile multi-role C-295 turboprop aircraft which is able to perform search and rescue, maritime patrol, cargo and troop transport or disaster relief, among others. The Brazilian Air Force currently operates 12 C-295 transport aircraft and has received the first of three C-295 Search and Rescue/Intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft, the second due for delivery later this year. The multi-role SAR/ISR aircraft is equipped with a multi-mission radar with two work stations in the front cabin equipped with third generation 24-inch FIS screen, and domed observation windows in the rear cabin. Airbus Defence and Space delivered the last of nine upgraded P-3 Orion antisubmarine warfare (ASW) aircraft to the Brazilian Navy.

Additionally, Sky Brasil-1, a telecommunications satellite made by Airbus Defence and Space for AT&T/DIRECTV, was successfully launched in 2017 on an Ariane 5 rocket.

A Brazilian Army Helibras Fennec fitted with an HForce 70mm rocket pod.
© David Oliver

Airbus Helicopters was displaying a mock-up of its H145M multi-mission helicopter, which can be used for a variety of military operations including utility, reconnaissance, SAR, medical evacuation and armed scout, and promoting its HForce, a flexible and accurate weapon system that can turn Airbus light helicopter into a affordable light attack platform armed with a range of weapons from 12.7 mm machine guns to laser-guided rockets. Philippe Kohn, Airbus Helicopter’s Military Missions Specialist told EDR On-Line that, “Helicopters are toolboxes, and HForce is the tools.” He saw Latin America, and Brazil in particular with its Army’s fleet of 34 Fennecs and 36 Panthers, as a potential market for HForce.

The Airbus Helicopters H145M mock-up
© David Oliver

Helibras, the Brazilian subsidiary of Airbus Helicopters, showcased its mission-ready product line in a static display at LAAD including the first fully operational naval combat H225M, developed and assembled by Helibras Brazil and one of the Brazilian Army’s upgraded Fennecs. Alberto Robles, Head of Airbus Strategy & International for Latin America, said: “LAAD is among the most important defence exhibition for Airbus, demonstrating the relevance of Brazil on the world stage and showcasing our most advanced defence products, based not only on our aircraft, satellites and helicopters, but also on our broad portfolio of defence solutions, and advance equipment.”

Currently the Airbus Group has more than 1,200 employees in Latin America, including Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Uruguay. In Brazil alone, the company has more than 500 employees.