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The new multi-mission military transport and tanker jet, the KC-390, recently concluded a successful 40-day demonstration tour. During this tour it flew over 19 countries and was presented to nine nations in Europe, Africa, Asia and Oceania. In total, 130 flawless flight hours were recorded, including several demonstration flights with representatives of potential operators.
The aircraft departed from Gavião Peixoto unit, in the state of São Paulo, and headed towards Sweden, where it was shown before flying to Le Bourget Airport, on the outskirts of Paris. There, the KC-390 was presented at the 52nd annual Paris Air Show, in June, making its flight display debut and becoming one of the highlights of the event. After France, the KC-390 continued to a series of demonstrations, before returning to Brazil this week.
“This tour allowed several representatives of potential operators to familiarize with the KC-390 and to learn about its flexibility, which makes it capable of carrying out a broad range of missions,” said Jackson Schneider, CEO and president of Embraer Defense and Security. “Everyone who had the chance to fly the aircraft praised its operational capabilities and its advanced design, which includes proven latest-generation technologies.”
The aircraft demonstrated remarkable robustness and presented 100 per cent of availability throughout the tour, in which 52 landings were made in 18 different countries. In total, the KC-390 covered 49,537 nautical miles (91,743 kilometres), equivalent to more than two turns around Earth over the equator.
During demonstrations, the aircraft was evaluated in high temperature and high altitude take-offs, in low-level navigation (flying at 120ºF, or 49ºC, ambient temperature) and in simulated operational conditions, such as paratroopers dropping.
“We are very satisfied with the maturity that this product has already reached and fully confident that its certification will be achieved as scheduled. Soon, the KC-390 will be completely ready to meet all requirements for which it was designed, making it a true force multiplier, ready to serve any nation,” said Schneider.
The KC-390 is a tactical transport aircraft developed to establish new standards in its category while presenting the lowest life cycle cost on the market. It is capable of carrying out various missions, such as transporting cargo, troops or paratroopers, aerial refuelling, in addition to supporting humanitarian missions, search and rescue missions, medical evacuation and aerial firefighting.
The KC-390 can transport up to 26 metric tons of cargo at a maximum speed of 470 knots (870 km/h), as well as operating in hostile environments, including unprepared or damaged runways.
This is a Brazilian Air Force (FAB, in Portuguese)-owned project, which hired Embraer in 2009 to develop the aircraft. The KC-390 test campaign is advancing in an extremely satisfactory way, meeting all aircraft requirements and validating all performance and capability objectives determined through the use of advanced engineering tools. Since the beginning of the flight test campaign, in October 2015, the KC-390 prototypes have demonstrated high rates of availability, accumulating more than 1,200 flight hours.
The Initial Operational Capability should be achieved by the end of this year and deliveries are scheduled to begin in the first semester of 2018.