Embraer KC-390 prototype to fly later this year


While it won’t be at AAD in the flesh, as it were, illustrations of Embraer’s new KC-390 are sure to turn heads of air force acquisition officers looking at tactical airlift and in-flight refuelling in the medium category.

The defence and security division of the South American aircraft manufacturer is developing the medium-sized KC-390 which it maintains will set new standards for this category of airlifter.
“The programme is currently in the prototype construction phase at our facility in Gavião Peixoto,” spokesman Valtecio Alencar said adding the Brazilian Air Force has entered into a contract to acquire 28 of the twin-engined airlifters.

A production milestone was reached at the beginning of September when wings were attached to the first prototype’s fuselage.

Equipped with International Aero Engines V2500 turbofan engines, the latest avionics, a rear ramp and an advanced cargo handling system, the KC-390 will provide excellent operational productivity and be capable of transporting a payload of up to 23 tons, including pallets, helicopters, armoured wheeled vehicles and troops (80 soldiers or 64 paratroopers).

The performance of the KC-390 is further benefitted by a modern fly-by-wire control system with integrated technology that lowers the workload of the crew and increases the safety of its operation. The KC-390 will offer in-flight refuelling with the installation of two removable internal fuel tanks. The aircraft itself can also be refuelled in flight providing greater flexibility for longer missions. The KC-390 will have an advanced self-defence system, increasing the aircraft’s survival capability in hostile environments.

To date Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Czech Republic and Portugal have signed letters of intent to acquire a total of 60 aircraft. The first flight of the KC-390 prototype is planned for the fourth quarter of this year.