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Embraer KC-390 completes first flight

written by australianaviation.com.au | February 4, 2015
Embraer KC-390 test aircraft takes off for its first flight on February 3 2015. (Embraer)
Embraer KC-390 test aircraft takes off for its first flight on February 3 2015. (Embraer)

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.

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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.

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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”.

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5 Comments

  • TomcatTerry

    says:

    Would make a great complimentary capability to the RAAF / Army along side the C27 Spartan.
    I wonder how their capabilities compare?

  • Chris

    says:

    The KC390 is more a competitor for the A400M than the C27J Spartan or C130J30 Hercules. Like the A400M the Hose and Drogue aerial refuelling system as both a receiver and tanker comes standard. For those Air Forces that do not require Boom refuelling it offers a Tanker Transport with C17A STOL at KC30A cruise speeds and A400M cargo bay dimensions and payload.

  • Chris

    says:

    The KC390 is more a competitor for the KC130J without the need for under wing external fuel tanks. I got the A400M like payload confused with the Kawasaki C2. The cabin dimensions are between the KC130J and A400M and C2. The cruise speed and STOL are similar to the C17A.

  • Raymond

    says:

    TomcatTerry – the ADF, and in particular the RAAF’s Air Mobility Group, now has a good spread of transport aircraft available and there isn’t an endless pit of money, especially when there are other, more pressing, funding priorities.

    There are already the King Air’s, the C-27J’s, the C-130J’s, the C-17’s and the KC-30 MRTT’s, as well as Army’s Chinooks. The ADF’s air mobility has done fairly well in the last few years, and there’s more C-17’s and KC-30’s in the pipeline as well.

  • derrick

    says:

    I think it could be a good buy for the NZ air force, their looking at aircraft to replace the 757 and the C-130H in the next few years. Their was some talk of them buying a few C-17 but they don’t have the numbers to justify it and the A400m is still having some technical issues which are slowing down orders. Think NZ should look at buying 10 with an option of 4 to 6 more. The big plus side is that most of the parts are of the shelf which would bring costs down for a small air force……

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