Embraer’s Multinational KC-390 Tactical Air Transport Program
May 30/19: Final Tests Embraer is close to the end of its KC-390 military certification tests, Jane’s reports. The company’s goal is for the aircraft to enter service with the Brazilian Air Force at the end of the year. The KC-390 is medium-size, twin-engine jet-powered military transport aircraft. Embraer received a $1.3 billion development order from the Brazilian Air Force (FAB) for its KC-390 medium-weight military transport jet in April 2009. The aircraft made its first flight in February 2015. KC-390 utilizes computed air release point technology integrated with fly-by-wire system to provide greater accuracy during air dropping, thereby reducing crew workload. The next step for the aircraft will be to complete continuous computed drop point (CCDP) certification, combat offload, and aerial refueling. Other tests will be for the KC-390’s self-protection system, both the chaff and flare and the direct infrared countermeasure (DIRCM) capability. However, it is possible that some tests may be pushed to 2020.
Global competition in the 20-ton air transport segment continues to intensify, with Brazil’s launch of its KC-390 program. Embraer figures reportedly place the global C-130 replacement market at around 700 aircraft. In response, it will develop a jet-powered rival to compete with Lockheed Martin’s C-130J, the larger Airbus A400M, Russia’s AN-12 and its Chinese copy the Yun-8/9, and the bi-national Irkut/HAL MRTA project. Smaller aircraft like the EADS-CASA C-295M, and Alenia’s C-27J, represent indirect competition.
Embraer is extending its efforts and markets by crafting a jet-powered medium transport with a cargo capacity of around 23 tons, that can be refueled in the air, and can provide refueling services to other aircraft by adding dedicated pods. The KC-390 has now become a multinational program, and may be shaping up as the C-130’s most formidable future competitor. A tie-up with Boeing underscores the seriousness of Embraer’s effort, which is now a production program…
The KC-390: Program
The KC-390: Aircraft
Contracts and Key Events
2014 – 2019
2007 – 2009
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