Brazilian Traders set for modernisation

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Brazil's navy has been awarded funds to upgrade four of the eight Grumman C-1A Traders purchased last year under a foreign military sales contract.

Marsh Aviation has received an award valued at $167 million, with the company to perform airframe overhaul and re-engining work, replacing the aircraft's original Wright R-1820-8WA powerplants with Honeywell TPE331-14GR turboprops equipped with Hartzell HC-135MA-5 five-blade propellers. Marsh, which is based in Mesa, Arizona, will also upgrade the avionics and communication/navigation suite, install inflight refuelling equipment with a centreline hose and drogue and replace other mission-related equipment on the four aircraft.

Two aircraft were handed over to the company last March, with modification work on each to take 18 months. These redesignated KC-2 Turbo Traders are expected to be ready in April 2014, while the remaining examples should be delivered by October 2015.

The Brazilian navy intends to assign these KC-2s to a new unit tasked with providing logistics transport, carrier on-board delivery and air-to-air refuelling duties. It is also likely to perform troop and cargo parachute delivery tasks in support of the service's special operations force.

Meanwhile, the navy has not shelved its intention to modify two C-1A airframes for use as airborne early warning platforms, with the Eliradar HEW-784 and Thales Searchwater 2000 sensors viewed as prime candidates. A final decision is scheduled for late next year, with Embraer expected to participate as sensor and mission systems integrator.