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Force Magazine

New Gen Tactical Transport

Embraer’s all new KC-390 military transport has the capability to garner a substantial slice of the tactical military transport market

By Atul Chandra

Embraer Defence & Security rolled out the first prototype of its KC-390 military transport from its production facilities at Gavião Peixoto, Brazil last month. In a sign of the widespread interest attracted by the programme, delegations and representatives from more than 32 countries were present at the roll out. Embraer said that it sees a market size of at least 700 transports till 2030 for aircraft in the KC-390s category. The KC designation stands for Tanker (K) and Cargo (C). “This significant milestone of the KC-390 programme demonstrates Embraer’s ability to manage such a complex and high-technology project and to perform it on track,” said Jackson Schneider, President and CEO, Embraer Defence & Security.

“The aircraft will do everything the C-130 does, better and faster,” said Colonel Sergio Carneiro, project manager at Coordinating Committee Combat Aircraft Program (COPAC). This aircraft is the first of two prototypes that will be used in the development, ground, flight and certification test campaigns. On completion of certification and testing, the two prototype aircraft will join the Brazilian Air Force (FAB) along with the 28 already on order. The programme has been heavily backed by the FAB, which placed a firm order worth over USD 3.3 billionfor 28 of the type earlier this year. “The KC-390 will be the backbone of the FAB’s air transportation network. It will be able to operate in both Amazon and Antarctica. The jet engines give the aircraft enormous agility in fulfilling all its missions faster and better,” informed Aeronautics Commander, Lieutenant-Brigadier General Juniti Saito. It will replace the Lockheed Martin C-130E/H transports and KC-130 airborne tankers in service with the FAB. In troop transport mode, the KC-390 can carry 80 soldiers or 64 paratroopers, it can also accommodate 74 stretchers in the medical evacuation role.

Embraer remains committed to achieving the KC-390s maiden flight before the end of the year and will continue with initial systems evaluations leading to the first engine run, and then to the ground vibration tests and the other planned ground tests. The development programme for the new military jet transport was signed by FAB and Embraer in 2009, with maiden flight of the transport planned for 2014 and entry into service by end 2015 (now expected to take place in 2016). The KC-390 will feature Computed Air Release Point (CARP) technology integrated with the fly-by-wire system for greater accuracy to air dropping and reducing crew workload.

KC-390 program marks first military application of Rockwell Collins award winning Pro Line Fusion integrated avionics system which came out in 2012
KC-390 program marks first military application of Rockwell Collins award winning Pro Line Fusion integrated avionics system
which came out in 2012

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