The KC-390 was showcased at the WDS 2024 in Riyadh. Prior to arriving at the biennial event, the tanker-transport aircraft was demonstrated to the Nigerian Air Force. (Janes/Akshara Parakala)
Embraer has recorded strong interest in its KC-390 Millennium from Nigeria, demonstrating the tanker-transport aircraft to the West African country ahead of the World Defense Show (WDS) 2024 held in Riyadh from 4 to 8 February.
, Embraer instructor pilot Marco Aurélio Oliveira said that prior to arriving in Saudi Arabia his team had flown three to four days of demonstrations in Nigeria, showcasing the aircraft as a potential replacement for the Nigerian Air Force's (NAF's) ageing fleet of Lockheed Martin C-130H Hercules that has been in service since 1975.
Oliveira said on 7 February that the demonstration, which took place as part of the KC-390's route to WDS 2024 that saw it depart Brazil and fly to Nigeria, Malta, and onto Saudi Arabia, showcased the aircraft's tactical air mobility, airdrop, paratrooper, search-and-rescue, and aerial refuelling capabilities, as well as its relative ease of maintenance.
As noted by
Janes World Air Forces
, the NAF launched a procurement programme between 2014 and 2016 to replace its fleet of C-130 aircraft with 5–10 medium tactical transport aircraft. Platforms offered during the bidding process included the Lockheed Martin C-130J Hercules, the Airbus A400M, and the Shaanxi Y-9 transport aircraft. The KC-390 was not previously named in relation to this requirement, though it now seems to be in the running. A contract is expected to be awarded before 2025.