Embraer KC-390 – Brazil

Embraer (Empresa Brasileira de Aeronáutica), one of the world’s largest aircraft manufacturers, received a $1.3bn development order from the Brazilian Air Force (FAB) for its KC-390 medium-weight military transport jet on 14 April 2009. The new high-wing aircraft is expected to fly in 2014 and enter service by the end of 2016. With the launch of the KC-390, competition in the 20t air transport segment has intensified.

KC-390 rollout ceremony

The first prototype rolled out from the Embraer subsidiary plant, Embraer Defense and Security, at Gavião Peixoto, São Paulo on 21 October 2014, and flew for the first time on 3 February 2015. Source wikipedia.org

KC-390 rollout ceremony – Image: forum.keypublishing.com

Features of the KC-390 will be in compliance with the new National Defence Strategy and meet the needs of the FAB. The new aircraft will replace 22 Lockheed Martin C-130E/H and KC-130 that are currently a part of the FAB.

Embraer KC-390 Makes Its International Debut At Farnborough Airshow: Here

Orders and deliveries

National Aeronautical Enterprise Empresa Nacional de Aeronautica (ENAER) of Chile signed a contract with Embraer in August 2010 to jointly build the KC-390 aircraft for the Chilean Air Force (CAF). About six KC-390 will be procured by the CAF.

KC-390 na fábrica da EMBRAER | by Força Aérea Brasileira – Página Oficial

The Brazilian Air Force expressed its desire to acquire the KC-390 aircraft at the 47th Farnborough International Airshow held in England in July 2010 and signed the series production contract for the aircraft in May 2014.

As part of the R$7.2bn ($3.3bn) contract, the company will supply 28 KC-395 aircraft over a period of ten years. The contract also includes a logistical support package including spare parts and maintenance.

Image: aviationweek.comMain suppliers for KC-390 @lhcolus.com.brMain fuselage suppliers – Image: everything.explained.today

A400M: DetailsA400m_flaps_down-1080x675

C-130J Hercules: Detailstunisian-air-force-receives-2nd-c-130j-super-hercules

Brazilian military validates KC-390 certification compliance: Here

KC-390 technical details

The twin-turbofan-powered KC-390 can be refuelled in flight and can be used for in-flight or on-ground refuelling of other aircraft. The new 20t jet is technically advanced and has fly-by-wire technology, which optimises mission results thereby reducing pilot workload. It also helps increase the safety and capability for operating on short and rustic runways.

KC-390 can be refuelled in flight and can be used for in-flight or on-ground refuelling of other aircraft. Fuel probe is above the cockpit. – Image: defenseforces.com

The military aircraft will have a cargo bay equipped with an aft ramp similar to Hercules, and capable of transporting a wide variety of cargo (weighing up to 19t), including armoured vehicles.

@visualoop.comCargo capacity – Image: media.defenceindustrydaily.com

It will be outfitted with state-of-the-art loading and unloading systems for handling cargo.

A study on the KC-390 (earlier named C-390) aircraft was presented at LAAD 2007. The research and development expenses of C-390 were $600m and shared among Embraer and various partners led by the FAB.

The aircraft utlises computed air release point (CARP) technology integrated with fly-by-wire system to provide greater accuracy during air dropping thereby reducing crew workload.

The twin-engine jet-powered Embraer KC-390 also integrates the technological solutions developed for Embraer 190 commercial aircraft. It is expected to carry 84 military personnel and the cargo cabin will be configured for transporting the wounded or sick, on medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) missions. It will also be used for in-flight refuelling, search and rescue missions.

KC-390 development

The KC-390 is the largest and most complicated aircraft ever undertaken by Embraer. It will also be the Brazilian manufacturer’s first new military product in more than a decade. It is expected to be assembled at Embraer’s Gavião Peixoto plant in Brazil.

Considering the delays in the production of Airbus A400M military airlifter and the time taken by Lockheed Martin to achieve full operational capability with the C-130J, both Embraer and its competitors say that developing KC-390 will not be easy.

Although the Brazilian government will be funding, any delay in the development would weaken Embraer’s defence growth.

Embraer KC-390 tanker tests Cobham aerial refueling system: Here

Cobham 912E Wing Air Refuelling Pods

The fourth generation 900E series pod family represents the most proven solution in probe and drogue air refuelling in operational service today. The advanced features of the 900E series pod provide high levels of performance and flexibility in support of the modern war fighter


Image: cobham.com

Key Features

  • Highly automated pod using advanced digital management
  • Exceptional refuelling speed range
  • Digital Control System provides flexibility to configure and optimise for any tanker/ receiver fleet
  • Multiple hose-length options up to 90ft trailed
  • Low weight and low drag
  • Simple and flexible interfaces
  • System architecture qualified and proven for helicopters and fast jet refuelling
  • Ease of maintenance provided by: – Comprehensive “Built in Test” – ‘On Condition’ Line Replaceable Units – Quick Access Panels

900E Series Pod

Flow rate Up to 450gpm

Weight Circa 1350lbs (612kg) dry

Hose length Up to 90ft (27.5m) of 2.2in (5.6cm) bore diameter hose

Delivery pressure Operator selectable up to 50psi

Platform integration 902E – AFSOC MC-130H

904E – Royal Swedish Air Force C-130E, C-130H

905E – Royal Australian Air Force Royal Air Force UAE Air Force Royal Saudi Air Force A330MRTT

907E – German Air Force (Luftwaffe) A310 MRTT

907E – Canadian Forces A310 MRTT 

909E – Omega KDC-10

Source cobham.com

Participation of other countries and companies in this programme is being evaluated in consultation with the FAB.

FAdeA was awarded a partnership contract by Embraer Defence and Security (EDS) in April 2011 to build and supply spoilers, nose gear door, ramp door, flap fairings, tail cone and electronic cabinet.

Boeing and Embraer signed an agreement to co-operate on the KC-390 aircraft programme in 2012.

The FAB and Embraer concluded the Critical Design Review (CDR) of the KC-390 aircraft in March 2013. The definitive aerodynamic and structural configurations as well as the architecture and systems installations were confirmed for the immediate production of the first prototype aircraft with the first flight scheduled in the second half of 2014.

Image: media.defenceindustrydaily.com


The avionics include two head-up displays (HUD), self-defence system and night vision goggle (NVG).

Rockwell Collins signed an agreement with EDS in May 2011 to supply its Pro Line Fusion avionics systems for the aircraft. The avionics system will render improved situational awareness and decrease the workload of the pilot.

Embraer awarded a contract to BAE Systems on 27 July 2011 to supply and install flight control electronics in the KC-390 transport aircraft.

Goodrich Corporation will design, build and supply primary flight control systems as part of an agreement signed with Embraer on 27 July 2011. It will supply electro-hydrostatic actuators, electro-backup hydrostatic actuators, actuator electronics and electrical controls.

Gabbiano T20 radar systems

Gabbiano T20 radar system

Selex ES has received a contract from Embraer Defense & Security to provide an undisclosed number of Gabbiano T20 radar systems for the KC-390 transport aircraft procured by the Brazilian Air Force (Força Aérea Brasileira, FAB). Deliveries will begin this year.

Gabbiano is an X-band radar capable of delivering high accurate ISR, search and rescue and patrol missions on sea, coast and land. Based on a solid-state transmitter, it offers high resolution imagery and superior detection ranges. Gabbiano comes equipped with a suite of modes including air-to-sea surveillance with Track While Scan (TWS), high resolution ground mapping (Spot/Strip-SAR), ship target imaging and classification with ISAR and navigation with ground mapping and weather avoidance. It has been selected by ten international customers. The version of Gabbiano which will equip the KC-390 aircraft incorporates radar modes optimised for military transport aircraft.

The production contract from Embraer follows the earlier selection of the Gabbiano to be part of the KC-390’s baseline. The aircraft, which flew for the first time in February, is projected to play an important role in the international tactical airlift market with several countries having confirmed firm and option orders and sales campaigns ongoing all around the world.

Source aviation2107.rssing.com

GABBIANO surveillance radar (All Photos: Selex ES)


International Aero Engines (IAE) was chosen by Embraer on 25 July 2011 to design, develop, supply and install V2500-E5 powerplant in the KC-390 aircraft. IAE is a consortium formed by Rolls-Royce, United Technologies Unit, Pratt & Whitney and Japanese Aero Engine Corp.

V2500-E5 powerplant

V2500-E5 powerplant – Image: aereo.jor.br

International Aero Engines has shipped to Embraer the first six V2500-E5 engines, which will power Embraer’s KC-390 multi-role tanker and transport.

IAE, which is majority owned by Pratt & Whitney, says the engines will be used for flight tests that will start in 2014. Embraer is scheduled to deliver the first certificated KC-390 to the Brazilian air force in 2016.

P&W expects civilian certification of the engine will be achieved in the third quarter of this year.

The engines were assembled at P&W’s facility in Middletown, Connecticut, then shipped to parent company UTC’s aerostructures plant in Foley, Alabama, for installation of nacelles, thrust reverses and other equipment, says Pratt.

V2500-E5 – Image: flightpress.aero

Rated at 31,300lb-thrust, Embraer and the Brazilian Air Force chose the V2500-E5 in July 2011.

The selection by Embraer of the V2500-E5 comes as P&W expects to wind down production of the type in the next five years.

The company tells reporters on 20 May that V2500 deliveries will fall as deliveries of its newest engine, the PurePower geared-turbofan, ramps up.

The geared turbofan will power Airbus A320neos, Bombardier CSeries, Embraers family of second-generation E-Jets and Mitsubishis regional jet.

IAE delivered the first three prototype V2500-E5 powerplants for Embraer’s new KC-390 aircraft in early 2014 and the remaining three in May of the same year. The civil certification for the new engine model is scheduled for third quarter 2014. “IAE shipped first KC-390 engines to Embraer” posted May 20, 2014 Source flightpress.aero

Landing gear

ELEB Equipamentos will design, manufacture and supply landing gear system for the aircraft as part of a contract signed with EDS in March 2011.

It will build a rugged and reliable system that enables the aircraft to operate with heavy payloads and land even in semi-prepared airfields. The KC-390 will be equipped with a double chamber shocker absorber system and modern hydraulic systems.


The KC-390 can fly to a maximum altitude of 10,973m. Its maximum speed is 980km/h. The normal and ferry range of the aircraft are 2,590km and 6,000km respectively. The aircraft weighs around 23,600kg and its maximum take-off weight is 74,400kg.


The Brazilian Air Force ordered 28 KC-390, in addition to the two prototypes.

Including Brazilian order, a total of sixty units were ordered for Chile, Portugal, Czech Republic, Argentina and Colombia. Portugal, Czech Republic and Argentina are Brazilian partners in program.

Specifications (KC-390)

Data from Embraer, flightglobal.com, Aviation Week

General characteristics

  • Crew: 2
  • Capacity:
  • 80 passengers or
  • 64 airborne troops or
  • 6 pallets (68″ X 108″) or
  • 74 litter patients with 2 medical personnel or
  • 2-3 Humvee and Agrale Marruá or an Astros II MLRS or a LAV III and VBTP-MR Guarani
Cargo compartment: Length 17.75 m X width 3.45 m X height 2.9 m
2 to 3 Agrale Marruá or Humvee1 x Astros II MLRS1 x LAV IIIV5v20ndsnoe_5ryer8m12i_file1 x BTP-MR Guarani
  • Payload: 23.6 tons (52,029 lb)
  • Length: 33.43 m (109 ft, 8 in.)
  • Wingspan: 33.94 m (111 ft,4 in.)
  • Height: 11.43 m (37 ft 6 in.)
  • Loaded weight: 74.0 tons (163,142 lb)
  • Max. takeoff weight: 81.0 tons (178,574 lb)
  • Powerplant: 2 × IAE V2500-E5 turbofan, 31,330 pounds-force (139.4 kN) () each
  • Fuel capacity: 37.4 tons (74,800 lb, 33,929 kg)


  • Maximum speed: Mach 0.8 (300 KCAS, 850 km/h)
  • Range: 2,600 nmi (4,815 km, 2,992 mi) (with 13,335 kilograms (29,399 lb) payload)
  • Range with full payload: 1,400 nmi (2,593 km, 1,611 mi)
  • Ferry range: 3,250 nmi (6,019 km, 3,740 mi)
  • Service ceiling: 36,000 ft (10,973 m)
Comparison of price and cargo capacity – Image: forum.keypublishing.comKC-390 AEW&C rendered in Argentinian Air Force colorsyourfileImage: flightglobal.com

Main material source: airforce-technology.com

Updated Feb 22, 2017

See related post:

VBTP-MR Guarani 6×6 amphibious armoured vehicles – Brazil

Embraer EMB 314/A-29 Super Tucano – Brazil

AMX International AMX ground-attack aircraft Italian-Brazilian joint venture


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