The service debut of the KC-390 Millennium, the new airlifter of the Brazilian Air Force (FAB), took place in early April with an unthinkable mission, to help fight the coronavirus pandemic in the country.

Developed by Embraer as a more capable and faster replacement for the C-130 Hercules, the transport aircraft was scheduled to transport medical equipment between Rio de Janeiro and Manaus, in the Amazon region.

In fact, the FAB has used instruction flights on the two planes it received last year (registration 2853 and 2854) to take materials like masks to regions that need help in their hospitals, but the KC-390 also carried an ambulance on the flight occurred on April 10. Something quite trivial for an aircraft capable of carrying an armored vehicle or 26 tons of cargo.

According to the commander of the Zeus Squadron, Lieutenant-Colonel Luiz Fernando Rezende Ferraz, the KC-390 is expected to complete the training phase by June. “In March, we finished the basic phase of training our pilots, which were the local flights, and we now start logistic air transport flights. On these en route flights, we are training pilots, mechanics and Cargo Masters, in loading and unloading cargo ”.

The Brazilian Air Force received two of 28 KC-390 transport aircraft from Embraer (FAB)

Brazil and Portugal

The C-390 Millennium program, as Embraer calls it, started in 2009 after a request from the Brazilian Air Force. After 10 years of development, the first aircraft was delivered in September 2019 and a second in December, part of an order for 28 units.

The cargo jet is one of Embraer’s most strategic products, which hopes to win over more customers who currently operate the old C-130 Hercules turboprops around the world. Therefore, the company closed a joint venture with Boeing to offer the aircraft to other countries, but so far only Portugal has closed an agreement for five aircraft.