Embraer’s Multinational KC-390 Tactical Air Transport Program
May 3/16: Embraer’s second and final test aircraft of its KC-390 program has made its maiden flight test with the company optimistic that it’s sale of 32 of the transport-tankers to Brazil will continue. Brazil, the aircraft’s only confirmed purchaser, is in the midst of political turmoil caused by a mass corruption scandal and slow economy. Further more, a decrease in government spending resulted in payments to Embraer ceasing for several months in 2015, denying the program $300 million in unpaid bills. Both parties have, however, now come to an agreement to continue payments and pay off the balance over the next four years.
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 – 2016
2007 – 2009
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