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Portugal activates KC-390 aircraft squadron

The KC-390 will undertake a range of duties for the Portuguese Air Force. (Embraer )

The Portuguese Air Force (FAP) formally activated its new transport squadron on 20 May.

Five Embraer KC-390 Millennium multimission transport aircraft will be operated by 506 Squadron at Beja Air Base No 11. The aircraft were acquired in August 2019 under an EUR827 million (USD894 million) contract to replace the C-130H Hercules aircraft of 501 Squadron.

The first aircraft, which is undergoing final certification by the Portuguese National Aeronautical Authority, will be formally received in 2023. The final aircraft is scheduled for delivery in 2027.

The contract includes a Rheinmetall full flight simulator; maintenance of the fleet; an Elbit systems electronic warfare suite and related support; ground support equipment; maintenance of the V2500-E5 engine; medical evacuation (medevac) kit; firefighting module; air-to-air refuelling system; the construction of new infrastructure; and refurbishing existing infrastructure, the Ministry of National Defence told Janes .

The Portuguese KC-390 includes NATO standard equipment, such as the Link-16 datalink system; a Mode 4/5 identification friend or foe transponder; and communications equipment.

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