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Brazilian navy buys Traders

The Brazilian navy has acquired eight Grumman C-1A Traders for extensive modification to perform carrier on-board delivery and air refuelling roles.

The last C-1A was retired from US Navy service in 1988, so the aircraft will initially undergo overhaul in the USA to restore them to airworthiness. They will then be ferried to Brazil's São Pedro da Aldeia naval air base.

Local sources indicate that Embraer will replace the C-1As' original Wright R-1820 piston engines with Honeywell TP331-14GR turboprops and Hartzell five-bladed propellers.

Embraer is also expected to receive a contract covering airframe overhaul and installation of updated avionics for six of the aircraft. Two will be modified to fit them for air refuelling duties for the navy's McDonnell Douglas A-4KU/TA-4KU Skyhawks.

Including the US Foreign Military Sales contract purchase price of $234,000 for all six aircraft, with all modifications the total cost per airframe will come to $3.5-4 million.

The navy's prime concern, however, remains finding airborne early warning assets for the aircraft carrier São Paulo. The navy intends imminently to inspect four stored Uruguayan navy Grumman S-2G Trackers, in the hope of obtaining the aircraft and again having Embraer fit them with TP331-14Gs.

Embraer has previously looked at the Eliradar HEW-784 and Thales Searchwater 2000AEW for development of a Tracker-based AEW platform. These aircraft would feature three mission stations, Link 11, ESM, plus new avionics and communications/navigation suites.

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