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Embraer reaches final agreement with Brazilian Air Force on KC-390 fleet size

24th October 2022 - 16:00 GMT | by The Shephard News Team in London


While Brazil has agreed on a reduced C-390 fleet of just 19 aircraft, Portugal is on track to take its full complement of five transports, with the first arriving at Beja air base on 15 October. (Photo: Portuguese Air Force)

Following attempts to cut the programme back to just 15 aircraft, Embraer and the Brazilian Air Force have agreed on a final total of 19 KC-390 twin-jet airlifters.

Brazilian aerospace manufacturer Embraer announced on 21 October that it had agreed on a contract amendment with the Brazilian Air Force (FAB) to deliver a final total of 19 KC-390 twinjet transport aircraft to the service.

This represents a substantial reduction from the initial procurement of 28 aircraft envisaged on the programme's launch in 2014. In late 2021 the FAB stated that it wanted to cut the buy to just 15 KC-390s, with Embraer citing a total of 22 aircraft now on contract by February. Clearly, a final compromise has been reached between the parties. 

Based on Shephard Defence Insight's estimated unit cost of $85,000,000 per aircraft, the overall programme value now sits at $1.61 billion.

While this news is a setback for the KC-390 - a largely clean-sheet design intended to compete with the dominant C-130 Hercules in the tactical airlift market - the programme has enjoyed some export success recently, with the Royal Netherlands Air Force announcing an order for four examples in June to replace its C-130H fleet. 

In a separate programme milestone, the first of five KC-390s ordered by Portugal's air force arrived in-country on 15 October for certification and NATO-standard equipment integration work before final handover to the customer.

The Shephard News Team


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