The Brazilian Air Force (FAB) will receive its first KC-390 shortly after the Paris Air Show in France, which runs from June 17 to 23. The information was revealed Wednesday by Nelson Salgado, Embraer’s CFO, in a teleconference of the manufacturer on the financial results in the first quarter of this year.
“As soon as the aircraft returns from the event we will begin the process of delivering the first unit to the FAB,” said the executive. The Brazilian Air Force has a request for 28 units of the KC-390, which was chosen to replace the old turbo-propellers C-130 Hercules, in service in Brazil since 1965. All aircrafts must be delivered to the Brazilian command until 2026.
The KC-390 that will participate in the air show in Paris is the first production aircraft and also is participating in the final stage of testing and certification of the new freighter, which will begin its operational career in Brazil from the second half of this year.
Salgado also said that the agreement to export the aircraft to Portugal is “very close”. The Portugal Air Force negotiates the purchase of five units of the KC-390 for 827 million euros.
Portugal is one of the strategic partners in the development and production of the KC-390. A series of aircraft components are produced at the Embraer factory in Évora and also by OGMA, a Portuguese company controlled by the Brazilian company.
“This is a product (KC-390) that has aroused huge interest from air forces around the world. In general, in relation to defense products, as long as your own air force does not start using the aircraft you usually do not realize many deals. But we expect that with the start of the operation of the KC-390 by the FAB in the second half of this year this interest will start to be converted into real opportunities,” said the Embraer CFO.
The Embraer KC-390 is the largest aircraft developed in Latin America, with a maximum takeoff weight of 81 tons. With the proposal to replace the C-130 Hercules, the KC-390 was developed to fulfill the same missions of the old turbo-propeller manufactured in the United States, but with practically double the speed (up to 460 knots) and more cargo – a total of 26 tonnes, 6 more than Hercules.
In addition to transporting equipment and troops, the Embraer military freighter can launch cargo and parachute, refuel other aircraft in flight (and also be refuelled), conduct search and rescue missions, combat forest fires and even fly to Antarctica.
Each unit of the KC-390 is valued at about $ 85 million. In addition to supplying the needs of the Brazilian Air Force, Embraer believes that the new military jet can also be one of the main market options in the medium-sized military cargo segment in the next 20 years, replacing former Hercules fleets around the world.