Brazilian Air Force to complete transition between C-130 and KC-390 in 2024

Embraer should reach 17 units delivered from the Millennium tactical freighter within three years, allowing the retirement of the Lockheed turboprop

The Brazilian Air Force (FAB) plans to take its last turboprop C-130 Hercules out of service in 2024, reported Major-Brigadier Valter Borges Malta, responsible for the retrofitting programs. By then, it is expected that 17 units of the KC-390 airlifter have been delivered, or 60% of the order for 28 aircraft.

Currently, the FAB has 22 Hercules freighters, but only ten would be operational. In addition to them, Brazil has four units of the KC-390 already delivered by Embraer and should have three other aircraft in 2021.

According to local press reports, Embraer is expected to deliver three KC-390s in 2022, four in 2023 and three in 2024. Between 2025 and 2028, the manufacturer is expected to ship four units a year until it completes the 28 aircraft ordered.

Capable of carrying more cargo and a higher speed, the KC-390 is Embraer’s bet to compete with the iconic Hercules, produced since 1956 by Lockheed Martin.

The four-engine turboprop is currently offered in the C-130J variant, with more efficient engines and modern avionics. The aircraft’s high reliability is one of its strengths, which has never had a strong competitor to date.

Brazilian Air Force C-130 Hercules (FAB)

Ordered at the request of the Brazilian Air Force, the KC-390 is Embraer’s most ambitious military program. Until last year, the planemaker had a partnership with Boeing to enhance its offer to several countries, but the two companies ended up breaking the ties.

So far, the cargo jet has 35 firm orders – in addition to 28 units for Brazil, there are orders from Portugal (five aircraft) and Hungary (two units).

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