First Three Series Production Aircraft for Brazil Under Construction
Perhaps one of the most eagerly awaited sights at Latin America’s premier defence and aerospace exhibition, FIDAE 2018 in Santiago de Chile, met the eyes of visitors and delegates alike this week: Embraer’s KC390 multirole transport/tanker aircraft.
Presented for the first time at FIDAE, KC390’s progress was highlighted in a press conference held by Paulo Gastão Silva, the company’s Vice President for the KC390 programme. He announced that negotiations are well advanced for a contract with Portugal for five aircraft (with an option for a further example), although no scheduled contract completion has yet been announced. This will be the KC390’s first export contract. He also stated that several letters of intent have been received as a result of the intensive marketing campaign that has been conducted, during which the aircraft has visited an impressive list of potential procuring nations.
Construction of the first three series production aircraft for the Brazilian Air Force – the launch customer – is well advanced, according to Silva, who confirmed the first example will be delivered to the customer before the end of this year.
Aspects of the evaluation programme approaching completion include load testing, Silva stated. These tests have included carriage of an M113 armoured personnel carrier, an Iveco GUARANI armoured vehicle, three CHIVUNK light exploration vehicles and a fire truck. The certification process is also approaching its final stages, the press conference confirmed.
The flight test programme to date has seen the two flying prototypes pass the 1,600 flight hour mark and has included parachute drops, loading tests and the first ‘dry contact’ inflight refueling system tests: the first exercises involving actual fuel transfer are expected in the near future.
At the end of the opening day at FIDAE the KC390 took to the air, clearly demonstrating its flight qualities and integrated technologies.