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Paris Air Show 2017: Embraer's KC-390 makes Paris Air Show debut

22 June 2017
Powered by two International Aero Engines V2500 turbofans, the KC-390 can carry up to 26 tonnes of cargo at a maximum speed of 470 kt (870 km/h). Source: IHS Markit/Patrick Allen

The Embraer KC-390 tanker-transport aircraft made its debut at the Paris Air Show this year, with the second flying prototype performing daily as part of the show's flight schedule.

The Embraer KC-390 tanker-transport aircraft made its debut at Le Bourget this year, with the second flying prototype performing daily as part of the show's flight schedule. (IHS Markit/Patrick Allen)The Embraer KC-390 tanker-transport aircraft made its debut at Le Bourget this year, with the second flying prototype performing daily as part of the show's flight schedule. (IHS Markit/Patrick Allen)

Detailing the aircraft's development progress to journalists at Le Bourget on 21 June, Paul Gastao Silva, the KC-390 programme director at Embraer, said the two flying prototypes had now exceeded 1,000 hours in the air and that the test campaign was "demonstrating that the models are correct".

Delivery of the first KC-390 for the Brazilian Air Force (Força Aérea Brasileira: FAB), which has 28 of the type on order, will take place next year, said Silva, adding that the second and third FAB KC-390s were already in production.

Meanwhile, KC-390 Test Vehicles 801 and 802, the third and fourth aircraft to be assembled on the KC-390 production line, are making progress with the ground/static test programme.

According to Silva, the KC-390 will achieve 'initial operational clearance' in the second half of this year, with 'full operational clearance' being achieved by the end of next year. This does not appear to correlate with a KC-390 unit becoming operational with the FAB, however, since Silva explained that just two aircraft would be delivered to the FAB next year, with a third aircraft arriving in 2019, although he noted that at that point the KC-390 would be achieving its "final military capability". Budgetary issues in Brazil have forced Embraer to adopt a slightly less ambitious delivery schedule for the KC-390 than was originally planned.

The KC-390 programme was initiated in 2009 when the FAB contracted Embraer to develop the aircraft. Following the first prototype making its maiden flight in February 2015, the flight test programme was initiated in October 2015 and has since then achieved a number of milestones.

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