EMBRAER KC-390 | Medium-range transport aircraft


Militarymedia.net | The EMBRAER KC-390 is a tactical transport aircraft currently under development in Brazil. It is similar in form and function to the Japanese Kawasaki C-1 and C-2, and is the largest aircraft ever developed by EMBRAER.

Development began in 2006, based on a requirement by the Brazilian Air Force for an aircraft to replace the C-130 Hercules. Originally designated as the C-390, EMBRAER based its design and technology on their E-Jet series of aircraft. After it was decided to include the tanker variant in the C-390 program, the name was changed to "KC-390" to emphasize this new capability.

In 2013, the KC-390 program had cost US$2.25 billion to develop, and unit costs are expected to be US$50 million when production begins. The aircraft was first revealed to the public in 2014.

A total of 68 KC-390s were ordered in 2014, by seven different countries. These are Argentina (6), Brazil (28), Chile (6), Colombia (12), Czech Republic (2), and Portugal (5-6). In addition to the planes already ordered by the Brazilian military, they are currently planning to buy 100 more. France also plans to buy 12 KC-390s, although orders have not yet been placed. Israel, South Africa and Sweden are also reportedly evaluating the KC-390 for a possible purchase. Several civil companies have also expressed interest in buying them.

The EMBRAER KC-390 made its first flight in 2015. The first deliveries to the Brazilian Air Force were originally scheduled to start in 2016. Although these plans were delayed until 2018.

The KC-390 is designed to compete with the Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules in the military tactical airlifter market, and offers fierce competition to its American rivals. Compared to the C-130J, the KC-390 is expected to be 15% faster, carry 18% heavier payload, and cost 41% less to purchase. And despite having a 15% shorter range than the C-130J, the KC-390 has aerial refueling capability as standard (only a few special sub-variants of the C-130 have aerial refueling capability).

Typical of mid- and mid-sized tactical air carriers, the KC-390 features a spacious rectangular cargo hold that covers most of the fuselage length, and a back ramp that allows for RO/RO (Roll-On, Roll-Off) capabilities. The sturdy landing gear allows the KC-390 to take off from or land on hard and level surfaces, including the ground airstrips typical of frontline bases. The nose is very short and swept downwards, to maximize forward visibility of the aircrew, and like many military cargo aircraft, the horizontal stabilizer is mounted above the vertical stabilizer in an "all-flying tail" (sometimes called "T-tail") configuration. The cargo hold can accommodate up to three vehicles collectively weighing up to 23 metric tons (for example, three HMMVWs, or one VBTP-MR Guarani).

The avionics of the KC-390 are outstanding for an aircraft of its class. They include a HUD display for the pilot and co-pilot, a night vision system, a GPS system, and a CARP ("Computed Air Release Point") system that allows automatic opening of cargo doors and cargo release at a specific point in the air. Both the pilot and co-pilot have identical controls and instruments at their station, and all functions of the KC-390 are controlled and managed via a digital fly-by-wire system.

EMBRAER KC-390 Variant

The C-390 is the basic tactical transport aircraft, and the flagship variant.

KC-390 cargo aircraft with additional aerial refueling capability. Aircraft can be quickly changed from transport to tanker, depending on mission requirements.

The proposed model C-390F is intended for the civilian market, with an extended fuselage.


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