Embraer Defense & Security (Hangar 5, Stand E14) is drawing nearer to the first flight of its new medium-sized, twin-engined KC-390 jet for tactical/logistical transport and in-flight refuelling.
Two prototypes are currently under construction in its industrial facility in Gavião Peixoto, Brazil, and at the beginning of September, Embraer successfully completed the attachment of the wings to the fuselage – a major step to meet its target of a maiden flight by the end of the year.
In May, the Brazilian Air Force signed a series production contract for the purchase of 28 aircraft and will take delivery of the first aircraft in 2016.
Intentions to purchase have also been recorded by five other countries, for a total of 32 aircraft.
The multimission KC-390 is capable of handling transport and airdrop of troops and cargo, special forces infiltration/exfiltration, search and rescue, firefighting, medical evacuation and aerial refuelling of fixed and rotary-wing aircraft.
The aircraft is equipped with a modern cargo handling system and is capable of transporting heavy combat vehicles up to 26 tonnes. The unobstructed cargo compartment provides room for up to seven standard pallets and several combinations of cargo and troops.
This cargo capacity comes in addition to an outstanding aircraft performance, displaying cruise speed in excess of 470kts (Mach 0.8), short-field operations capability and a rugged design that withstands operations on semi-prepared and damaged runways, as well as in harsh environments.
Proven commercial off-the-shelf components are used in key systems and existing state-ofthe- art technology is also present in the cockpit, featuring integrated avionics, full fly-by-wire controls, and an outstanding human-machine interface for reduced crew workload. Critical systems redundancy and protection, latest-generation and differentiated electronic warfare and self-protection solutions, and fuel tank inerting systems bring increased survivability in hostile operational environments.
“We do believe that the outstanding KC-390 performance and innovative design can meet and exceed market needs, in particular the demanding South African Air Force requirements”, commented Paulo Gastão Silva, vice-president of the KC-390 programme. “Our record of both military and commercial programmes gives us the confidence to say that everything is on track for the first delivery to take place late 2016, shortly followed by achieving full operational capability.”
Embraer’s analysis shows that the market for this category exceeds 700 aircraft in more than 70 countries. A large number of previous generation medium airlift aircraft are getting close to the end of their service lives and the current operators will certainly look for solutions developed to offer a true evolution of their inventory. Based on its differentiated capability, new embedded technology and the positive market reception, Embraer expects the KC-390 to take a solid share of such opportunities.