Brazil is part of a select group of countries capable of manufacturing and certifying world-class aeronautical, defence & security and space products. The history of the EADS Group in Brazil began in 1978 with the creation of Helibras, in a pioneering partnership between Eurocopter and the Government of Minas Gerais state.
In 2003, with the creation of EADS Brasil, headquartered in São Paulo, another step was taken towards consolidating the Group’s presence in Brazil.
Airbus has maintained operations in Brazil since the late 1970s.
LATAM Airlines, the new holding company resulting from the merger of Chilean airline LAN and Brazilian TAM, was created in 2012 and is now one of Airbus’s largest customers. Nearly half of the Airbus aircraft in operation today in Latin America are in service at LATAM. The fleet includes the A340, A330 and A320 families, and TAM will be the first Latin American airline to fly the A350 XWB. In 2010, the Avianca Brasil airline began operating Airbus aircraft. This customer currently has 20 Airbus aircraft in operation in Latin America.
Airbus participated with TAM in a project to evaluate the feasibility and sustainability of local production of biofuel for aviation. The study was conducted by Yale University, and demonstrated the sustainability of Jatropha production in Brazil.
Airbus Military has in the Brazilian Air Force (FAB) one of its main clients in the region. FAB operates 12 C295 transport aircraft and is receiving the modernized P-3 Orion by Airbus Military in Spain for use in maritime patrol, anti-submarine warfare and a range of civil missions that include enforcement of the economic exclusion zone and search and rescue operations.
ATR has an important presence in Brazil for many years. Its clients include the carriers Azul Linhas Aéreas, TRIP, Passaredo Linhas Aéreas and Total Linhas Aéreas, which currently operate around 60 ATR aircraft.
Eurocopter, through its subsidiary Helibras—the leading manufacturer of turbine helicopters in Brazil and the only helicopter manufacturer in Latin America, has been present in Brazil since 1978.
The company employs more than 780 people at its facilities located in Itajubá (Minas Gerais), São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Brasília. Since its creation, it has manufactured and delivered over 600 helicopters. The helicopters sold by Helibras include the EC120, AS350, EC130 and AS355 from the Esquilo family, the EC135, EC145, AS365, EC 155, AS332, EC225 and EC725, which are helicopters used in civil, government, military and oil & gas missions.
Following the contract signed in late 2008 to supply 50 EC725 helicopters to the Brazilian Armed Forces, Helibras is increasing its technological capacity. The company is expanding to produce and maintain these helicopters in Brazil, all of them bringing up to 50% local content.
To support this strong growth, in October 2012, Helibras inaugurated in Itajubá, Minas Gerais, a new final assembly line for the EC725 helicopter and its civilian version, the EC225. By the end of this decade, it’s expected that Helibras will be able to design and build a helicopter based out of its new engineering centre, which has been expanded and certified by Eurocopter.
Cassidian has been present in Brazil since 2006, when it created a local business unit to implement the secure radio communication network based on the TETRAPOL technology, in the frame of the Promatec programme to modernize Brazil’s Federal Police. In 2010, Cassidian announced the inauguration of a TETRAPOL IP network to secure the operations of the Federal Police in the Fortaleza metropolitan area and other major cities in the state of Ceará.
MBDA, where EADS is a shareholder, also has maintained a presence in Brazil since the 1970s, being a traditional supplier to the Brazilian Armed Forces. In 2008, through a contract for re-motorizing the Brazilian Navy’s Exocet missiles, MBDA established a cooperation agreement with local companies Mectron and Avibras to develop the new engines, which are already in use by the Navy.
Astrium has been present and active in Brazil for many years.
The partnership between Astrium and Brazil’s Equatorial Sistemas started in 2000 when both companies cooperated in the project of the Humidity Sounder Brazil (HSB), one of the six instruments aboard the NASA Aqua observation satellite launched in 2002.
In 2006, Astrium became a shareholder Equatorial Sistemas, which is located in São José dos Campos (State of São Paulo), the aerospace capital of Brazil. Since then, both companies have been participating in several Brazilian government satellite projects.
As an example, Equatorial Sistemas, in consortium with the Brazilian company Opto, is developing and supplying the Wide Field Instrument (WFI) for the China-Brazil Earth Resources Satellite (CBERS) program, driven by INPE (National Institute of Space Research) on the Brazilian side. The same INPE also contracted Equatorial Sistemas to develop, qualify and supply a state-of-the-art Digital Data Recorder for the Brazilian satellite Amazonia-1.
In another field, Astrium Services Geo Information Brasil (formerly Spot Image) has been operating in São Paulo since 2009 to provide top quality Earth observation imagery to Brazilian commercial and government customers.
In early 2013, Astrium put down further Brazilian roots by creating at corporate level its subsidiary Astrium do Brasil in São Paulo.