Embraer has declared that its KC-390 transport/tanker aircraft now has the initial capabilities required for the Brazilian Air Force (Força Aérea Brasileira: FAB) to accept the aircraft into service in 2018.
The declaration of initial operating capability (IOC) for the twin-turbofan airlifter was made by Embraer on 20 December. Under the Brazilian system, IOC means that the customer can employ a limited number of capabilities ahead of the later declaration of full operating capability (FOC).
“The achievement of the IOC ensures the necessary conditions have been met for the aircraft to start operations, in accordance with the scope agreed upon with the FAB,” Embraer said, adding, “As part of the IOC, Embraer obtained a KC-390 Provisional Type Certificate from the Brazilian National Civil Aviation Agency (ANAC), which is a testament to the adequacy of the design in fulfilling the demanding certification requirements for transport aircraft.”
With the first two of the FAB’s planned 30 aircraft scheduled to be delivered in 2018, the KC-390 is due to receive its final Type Certificate from ANAC in the same year. Additional trials will be flown, including further aerial refuelling and cargo drops, ahead of FOC being declared.
To date, the two prototype aircraft have flown more than 1,500 hours since the maiden flight on 3 February 2015, and have accumulated more than 40,000 hours of laboratory testing. The structural tests campaign is nearing completion, with only the full-scale fatigue test remaining.
The KC-390 is billed as being able to carry 23 tonnes (or a concentrated maximum payload of 26 tonnes over the centre of gravity) at 470 kt (Mach 0.8) out to 1,300 n miles. A typical payload would include 80 regular troops or 64 paratroopers, or three Humvee-sized vehicles or a single Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk utility helicopter.
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