Czechs hold KC-390 demonstration but keep future medium airlift options open
Embraer has demonstrated its KC-390 multirole transport aircraft in the Czech Republic, as the European country explores its options for future medium airlift procurement.
Czech defence minister Jana Černochová attended a ‘non-binding’ ground and flight demonstration of the Brazilian aircraft at Pardubice Airport, the MoD announced on 6 June, adding that Prague has ‘no obligations at this time’ to buy it.
The demonstration included loading and unloading a Pandur II 8x8 wheeled armoured vehicle.
The KC-390 can function as a conventional airlifter or as an air-to-air refuelling platform. The Czech Air Force currently lacks the latter capability, although it operates six Airbus C295s for tactical airlift.
Embraer sold two KC-390s to neighbouring Hungary in November 2020, and the Czech MoD acknowledged that the Russian invasion of Ukraine has changed the security environment in the world and emphasised the need to implement large-scale defence modernisation projects.
‘One such project will be the modernisation of a squadron of transport aircraft,’ the MoD added. ‘The demonstration of the Embraer KC-390 is one of the steps to find out what the current transport market has to offer.’
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