Brazil Confirms KC-390 Order as Final Assembly Starts

 - June 3, 2014, 9:50 AM
The first KC-390 prototype is entering final production at Embraer’s São Paolo facility. (Photo: Embraer)

The Brazilian air force formally committed to the KC-390 airlifter last month, signing a $3.2 billion contract for 28 aircraft in a ceremony at Embraer’s São Paulo facility. The event was attended by Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff. Final assembly of the first of two KC-390 prototypes is slated to start this month.

Bg Gen Juniti Saito, commander of the Brazilian air force (acronym FAB in Portuguese), said “the KC-390 is a project that was carefully specified to serve our nation, in total alignment with the guidelines of the National Defense Strategy, and it will represent a great leap in the operating capacity of air transportation.” The FAB will take the first delivery at the end of 2016, with the others to follow over the ensuing 10 years.

The new president and CEO of Embraer Defense and Security, Jackson Schneider, said, “The partnership between the Brazilian Air Force and Embraer is generating a product that promises to be an outstanding worldwide success.” Embraer has developed industrial partners in countries that have a collective requirement for 32 new airlifters. They are Argentina (six), Chile (six), Colombia (12), Czech Republic (six) and Portugal (two).

Embraer claims that the KC-390 costs less to operate than rival airlifters and has the flexibility to perform a variety of missions: cargo and troop transport, cargo deployment, aerial refueling, search-and-rescue and combating forest fires.