KC-390 aircraft

Embraer has conducted the maiden test flight of its KC-390 military transport and aerial refuelling aircraft at an undisclosed location.

Piloted by Embraer test pilots Mozart Louzada and Marcos Salgado de Oliveira Lima, the aircraft flew for one hour and 25 minutes, successfully completing an evaluation of flying qualities and performance.

The crew performed manoeuvres to test its flight characteristics and also conducted a variety of systems tests, following an advanced campaign of simulations and extensive ground tests.

Captain Louzada said: "The KC-390 behaved in a docile and predictable manner.

"The advanced fly-by-wire flight control system and the latest-generation avionics make flying easy and render a smooth and precise flight."

Embraer president and chief executive officer Frederico Fleury Curado said: "This first flight is a fundamental step toward accomplishing the task with which we were entrusted.

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"The KC-390 is the result of a close cooperation with the Brazilian Air Force (FAB) and international partners, representing what is most likely the greatest technological challenge that the company has ever encountered in its history."

Embraer Defense and Security president and chief executive officer Jackson Schneider said: "The programme continues to move forward as planned and the KC-390 has drawn interest from several countries around the world."

"The KC-390 behaved in a docile and predictable manner."

Jointly developed by Embraer and the FAB, the KC-390 is designed for cargo and troop transport, troop and cargo air delivery, aerial refuelling and search and rescue, as well as combating forest fires, among other missions.

Embraer is currently manufacturing 28 KC-390 aircraft under a R$7.2bn ($3.25bn) contract awarded by the FAB in May 2014, with deliveries planned to begin in 2016.

FAB Aeronautics commander lieutenant-brigadier general Nivaldo Luiz Rossato said: "The KC-390 will be the backbone of transport aviation for the FAB.

"From the Amazon to Antarctica, the fleet of 28 aircraft will play a key role in the diversity of projects of the Brazilian state, from scientific research to the maintenance of sovereignty."

Approximately 32 medium-lift aircraft are also expected to be purchased by military forces worldwide.

Image: The first flight successfully evaluated flying qualities and performance of the KC-390 military transport aircraft. Photo: courtesy of EmbraerSA.