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LAAD 2019: Airbus Looking to Long Term

Transports, Tankers, Fighters and Satellites all on the Agenda

Offering a wide range of products and services from communications and satellite imagery to UAS, aircraft and helicopters, Airbus Defene and Space at LAAD 2019 in Rio de Janeiro was focusing its attention closely on the long term development of its Latin American market. Christophe Roux, the company’s Senior Vice President for Latin America, described to MON the importance of Brazil and Mexico in its planning: they are the economic engines for the region, each managing roughly one third of the total economy.

He highlighted the fact that all systems are appropriate for both civil and military use and pointed to the C295 aircraft as the company’s major product in the region, with more than 40 currently in operation, including 13 in Brazil (12 in the transport role and one used for search and rescue). The type’s main feature are its versatility and low acquisition and operational costs, making it a good option for armed forces. He revealed that in the next five years they expect to sell a further 20 aircraft in Latin America.

The company also expects that, at some future point, the A400M will also be in the inventories of some Latin American armed forces, specifically countries such as Mexico, Chile, Colombia and Argentina. With its 37t payload, the aircraft has no competitor in its category, being a tactical but also strategic airlifter, capable of flying very long distances and landing on unprepared airfields.

The A330 multi-role tanker/transport (MRTT) is the other main thrust of the company’s strategy in the transport and specialised aircraft domain, as the region’s main air forces are all in need of a new large tanker/transport, in most cases to replace Boeing 707s or KC-135s.

Airbus also hopes to provide the future combat aircraft for the Colombian Air Force, which is seeking to replace its fleet of Israel Aircraft Industries KFIRs. According to Roux, the Eurofighter TYPHOON is a twin-engined aircraft with no competitor in its category.

In space, Airbus has operated and led the regional ground observation systems market for 20 years. Since 2011 they have been operating in Chile with FASAT and in Peru with PERUSAT since 2016, the latter – the most powerful satellite in Latin America, with a 70cm resolution – having been developed in a record time of only two years. In its two years of operations, this satellite has delivered more than 70,000 images for more than 400 Peruvian institutions, both civil and military.

Santiago Rivas

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