The first KC-390 is due to be delivered to the Brazilian Air Force on September 4, according to an Airway source. Manufactured by Embraer, the multi-purpose cargo jet is the largest aircraft ever built in Brazil.
If all goes as planned, the ceremony will be held at Anapolis Air Base where Wing 2 is located, which will be responsible for operating the new aircraft. Since 2018, the First Troop Transport Group has been working to prepare to receive the KC-390. In July, the FAB began training the first crews of the aircraft that will last throughout the semester.
The first KC-390 from Brazil’s 28-unit order was completed late last year and made its first flight in October. Embraer used the aircraft in the final certification tests and also participated in the Paris Air Show in France in June.
Announced in 2007, the KC-390 program was officially launched 10 years ago by Embraer. With the approval of the Brazilian government, which pledged to be a jet client to replace the C-130 Hercules, the manufacturer continued the development of the project that took five years to complete.
On October 21, 2014, the first prototype was unveiled, but the maiden flight only took place on February 3, 2015. The second KC-390 only joined the program in April of the following year. To enable its manufacture, Embraer had the partnership of companies in Argentina, Portugal and the Czech Republic.
During the testing program, the KC-390 suffered two incidents. In November 2017, one of the aircraft had a sudden loss of altitude that damaged components, but returned to flight in March 2018. Two months later, however, the same prototype left the runway at Gavião Peixoto’s plant, suffering considerable damage.
Despite this, Embraer kept the schedule, although already late, predicting that the aircraft would be in service in 2019. This year, the first international customer was confirmed, the Portuguese Air Force, which will receive five aircraft.
With unmatched capacity among today’s transport aircraft, the KC-390 uses IAE V2500 turbofan engines common in commercial aircraft. The jet is also equipped with a full fly-by-wire system that compares it to the performance of turboprop aircraft, according to Embraer. With a maximum takeoff weight of 81 tons, the KC-390 is the largest aircraft ever developed in Brazil.
The Air Force is expected to receive its 28 transport aircraft by 2024. By then, the aircraft is expected to have new customers as a result of the partnership between Embraer and Boeing, which aims to boost its sales.