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Embraer KC-390 Military Transport

The KC-390 cargo aircraft was developed by Embraer as a direct challenge to Lockheed Martin Corp's popular C-130 Hercules airlifter, promising a jet that flies higher, fuller and faster, at a lower price.

On 17 December 2018 Embraer and Boeing approved to the terms of a strategic partnership that would position both companies to accelerate growth in global aerospace markets. Embraer planned a joint venture with Boeing focused on the KC-390 tactical military freighter. In this agreement Embraer will have a 51% stake while Boeing will have the remaining 49%. Both companies will allocate cash and assets in this joint venture. In this agreement both manufacturers will have a long-term contract for research, development, intellectual property, support and supply chain for the airplane. It is expected that the KC-390 will reach an agreement with the United States government, becoming the substitute of veterans C-130 Hercules. From the start of the KC-390 program Embraer had the ambition to make its plane the natural replacement for Hercules, but would have to face the powerful lobby of Lockheed Martin, owner of the C-130 program.

The jet is designed to meet the needs of the Brazilian Air Force (FAB), in full compliance with the new National Defense Strategy. The existence of a study regarding this military transport aircraft was presented two years ago, at the Latin America Aero and Defence (LAAD) trade fair in 2007. The FAB established the requirements for this aircraft, just as has occurred with other successful products manufactured by Embraer, like the Bandeirante, the Tucano, the aerial surveillance and remote sensoring versions of the ERJ 145, which are used in the Amazon Surveillance System (Sistema de Vigilncia da Amaznia SIVAM), and the Super Tucano.

Initially the concept was a quick and simple derivative of the Embraer 190 large regional jet. The budget was projected at $600 million, with $400 million coming from the Brazilian government and $200 million provided by Embraer and risk-sharing partners. But further study concluded that it was not a realistic aircraft, and the design could not fulfill the mission requirements. The final KC-390 design, although sharing a similar high-wing, twin-turbofan configuration, was otherwise an all-new design, with the most noteworthy change being a high T-tail.

In a ceremony held April 14, 2009, today, during the seventh edition of the Latin America Aero and Defence (LAAD) trade fair, which takes place from April 14 to 17, at Riocentro, in the city of Rio de Janeiro, Embraer signed a contract with the Brazilian Air Force (FAB) for the KC-390 military transport aircraft program. The event was attended by the Minister of Defense, Nelson Jobim, the Head of the Navy, Admiral Jlio Soares de Moura Neto, the Brazilian Aeronautics Commander, General Juniti Saito, and Embraer President & CEO Frederico Fleury Curado.

The launch of the KC-390 program is a new landmark in the historical strategic partnership between the Brazilian Air Force and Embraer, said Frederico Fleury Curado, Embraer President & CEO. We are convinced that the development of the KC-390 will result in an effective cargo and tanker aircraft for the FAB and shall also become another successful export platform for both Embraer and Brazil.

On October 20, 2011 some 80 Brazilian companies from the Brazilian aerospace cluster participated in the KC-390 Workshop, held yesterday by the Brazilian Air Force (FAB). Embraer Defense and Security presented short and medium-range opportunities to potential suppliers of the military transport and refueling jet being developed for the Brazilian Air Force. The workshops main objective was to stimulate more Brazilian companies to participate in the bidding process as suppliers of parts, components, systems and services for the KC-390. The Nationalization Index of the aircraft, as calculated according to the criteria of the Brazilian Economic and Social Development Bank (BNDES), is estimated to be 60%, or as much as 80%, if the engines, which represent about one-third of the total cost of the aircraft and for which there is no Brazilian manufacturer, are not taken into consideration.

The event was held in the Technological Center of So Jos dos Campos, and was attended by the Brazilian Industrial Development Agency (ABDI), BNDES, the Brazilian Innovation Agency FINEP, the Industrial Foment and Coordination Institute (IFI). The Association of Aerospace Industries of Brazil (AIAB) and the Center for Competitiveness and Innovation of Eastern So Paulo (CECOMPI) also participated. The meeting also sought to urge companies to pursue partnerships with suppliers from other countries that have already begun working with Embraer Defense and Security in the program.

The mobilization and strengthening of the entire national production chain, aligned with the governments priorities reflected in the National Defense Strategy and in the new Bigger Brazil Plan (Plano Brasil Maior), have been the focus of the Brazilian Air Force and Embraer since the beginning of this program, said Luiz Carlos Aguiar, President of Embraer Defense and Security. With the support of a number of public and private agencies, there are several joint efforts to stimulate and facilitate the participation of Brazilian companies as suppliers of the KC-390.

The KC-390 development program is ongoing. Development expenditures associated with the KC-390 were borne by the Brazilian Air Force. Embraer said the KC-390 will be produced at half the cost of the American-made Hercules transport aircraft. The aircraft was intially expected as of 2009 to enter service in 2015. As of mid-2010 the first prototype takeoff was scheduled for January 2014, shortly after the roll out ceremony. The first flight of a series aircraft was anticipated for two years later, in 2016. As of mid-2011, The first deliveries of the V2500-E5 engines for the KC-390 prototypes were scheduled for 2013, and the flight tests for 2014. The aircraft was to go into service in 2015. Subsequently, the first flight of the KC-390 prototype was expected to occur in 2014, and initial deliveries are expected for 2016.

In July 2015 Embraer delayed the certification for the KC-390 tanker-transport to the second half of 2017 and entry into service in 2018. The disclosure in the companys second quarter earnings statement represented a delay of up to two years for the military aircraft. With an economic downturn, government spending cuts forced Embraer into delaying development of the plane, and with its first order to be delivered to the Brazilian military in 2018 rather than 2016.

Embraer completed a highly-publicized first flight of the KC-390 in Gaviao Peixoto, Brazil, on 03 February 2014. This was the only flight of the aircraft for a time, with a "lay-up period" to allow the installation of all the instrumentation required for certification trials. A two-year suspension of flight testing because of government budget constraints. The KC-390 tanker/airlifter logged more than 100 hours in six months since it resumed its flight-test program on October 26, 2015.

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Page last modified: 24-06-2021 17:59:16 ZULU