Embraer’s Multinational KC-390 Tactical Air Transport Program
April 14/20: Medical Supplies in Brazil The Brazilian Air Force was forced to take two of its KC-390 transports away from instructional flights in order to airlift medical supplies to areas affected by COVID-19. The Brazilian Air Force received its first Embraer KC-390 transport on September 4. The twin-turbofan-powered KC-390 can be refueled in flight and can be used for in-flight or on-ground refueling of other aircraft. The military aircraft has a cargo bay equipped with an aft ramp similar to Hercules, and is capable of transporting a wide variety of cargo, including armored vehicles.
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 – 2020
2007 – 2009
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