Embraer’s Multinational KC-390 Tactical Air Transport Program
June 18/13: Boeing agreement. Embraer and Boeing sign an agreement to market the KC-390 in limited international venues, building on the June 26/12 MoU. Boeing will be the lead for KC-390 sales, sustainment and training opportunities in the USA, UK and “select Middle East markets.”
The UK has committed its defense airlift budgets to a combination of C-130Js, A400Ms, and C-17s, so their inclusion doesn’t mean much. The USA is also an unlikely customer, as Lockheed Martin has a hard lock on the medium tactical airlifter segment. Absent some angle on civil sales, US SOCOM is about the only (remote) possibility. The Middle East offers a more promising market, with interest already expressed by Boeing’s C-17 customer in the UAE, but it will depend on which countries are within the agreement’s scope.
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, may also 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 effort, and may be shaping up as the C-130′s most formidable future competitor. A potential tie-up with Boeing just underscored the seriousness of Embraer’s effort.
The KC-390: Program
The KC-390: Aircraft
Contracts and Key Events
2007 – 2009
KC-390 & Competitors
Market & Developments
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