Embraer unveils first KC-390 military transport aircraft prototype
Embraer has rolled out the first prototype of the KC-390 military transport aircraft from its production hangar at the industrial plant of Gavião Peixoto, Brazil.
The aircraft will continue with initial systems evaluations that will lead to the first engine run, followed by the ground vibration tests and the other planned ground tests.
Developed in collaboration with the Brazilian Air Force (FAB), the KC-390 is a tactical transport and aerial refuelling airplane, and is designed to perform cargo and troop transport, troop and cargo air delivery, aerial refuelling, search-and-rescue, and combating forest fires, among others.
Embraer Defense & Security president and chief executive officer Jackson Schneider said: "This significant milestone of the KC-390 Program demonstrates Embraer´s ability to manage such a complex and high-technology project and to perform it on track.
"It paves the way for the beginning of the ground tests to prepare for the first flight."
Brazilian Air Force Aeronautics commander, lieutenant-brigadier general Juniti Saito said: "The KC-390 will be the backbone of the FAB's air transportation network. It will be able to operate in both the Amazon and Antarctica.
"The jet engines give the aircraft enormous agility in fulfilling all of its missions, faster and better."
Representing the first of two prototypes that will be used in the development, ground, flight and certification test campaigns, the aircraft is expected to perform its first flight by the year-end.
Embraer is currently manufacturing 28 KC-390 aircraft under a BRL7.2bn ($3.25bn) contract awarded by FAB in May this year, which also covers associated initial logistic support.
Aircraft deliveries are scheduled to start by the end of 2016, and continue over a period of ten years.
In addition to FAB's lot, around 32 medium-lift aircraft are also expected to be purchased by other militaries worldwide.
Image: The first KC-390 military transport prototype during its roll out ceremony at Embraer's industrial plant in Gavião Peixoto, Brazil. Photo: courtesy of Azxcx.