Embraer’s KC-390 military transport aircraft has completed its first test flight.
The maiden flight of the military transport and air-to-air refuelling aircraft took place at Sao Jose dos Campos in Brazil on February 3.
Embraer said the aircraft flew for 85 minutes with test pilots Mozart Louzada and Marcos Salgado de Oliveira Lima, as well as flight test engineers Raphael Lima and Roberto Becker, at the helm.
The pilots conducted a series of system tests and performed various manoeuvres to evaluate the flight characteristics of the aircraft.
“The KC-390 behaved in a docile and predictable manner,” Captain Louzada said in a statement on Tuesday Brazil time.
“The advanced fly-by-wire flight control system and the latest-generation avionics make flying easy and render a smooth and precise flight.”
The KC-390 has garnered 28 orders from the Brazilian Air Force as well as 32 “purchase intentions” from other countries such as Argentina, Colombia and Chile.
First delivery was expected in 2016.
“The KC-390 is the result of a close cooperation with the Brazilian Air Force and international partners, representing what is most likely the greatest technological challenge that the company has ever encountered in its history,” Embraer chief executive Frederico Fleury Curado said.
Brazillian aeronautics commander Lieutenant-Brigadier General Nivaldo Luiz Rossato said the KC-390 would be the “backbone of transport aviation” for the country’s Air Force.
“From the Amazon to Antarctica, the fleet of 28 aircraft will play a key role in the diversity of projects of the Brazilian State, from scientific research to the maintenance of sovereignty,” he said.
The KC-390 is powered by International Aero Engines (IAE) V2500-V5 engines, which were rated at 31,330 pounds of thrust and a variant of the power plants used on the Airbus A320 family of aircraft.
The engine supplier offered its congratulations following the first flight.
“We are incredibly proud to support our partner Embraer in the development of this cutting-edge, world-class military aircraft,” IAE said in a statement.
“We look forward to closely collaborating with Embraer through the next phase of testing to ensure on-time entry into service.
“While Embraer and its customers desire maximum commonality with the V2500 engine, changes have been made to optimize installation with the new airframe.”
Embraer defence and security chief executive Jackson Schneider said the KC-390 would “set a new standard in the category of tactical military transport”.