KC-390 aircraft

Rohde & Schwarz (R&S) has received a contract from Embraer Defense & Security to supply airborne transceivers for the Brazilian Air Force’s (FAB) KC-390 tanker aircraft development programme.

R&S will deliver an undisclosed number of M3AR software defined very high frequency/ultra high frequency (VHF/UHF) airborne transceivers to Embraer for integration into the KC-390 tanker.

Each KC-390 aircraft is expected to be installed with two advanced R&S M3AR radios, which feature frequency hopping and encryption capabilities.

The R&S M3AR is a multiband, multirole radio designed to enable secure transmission of mission-critical information between jet or propeller aircraft, helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), with a frequency range from 30MHz to 400MHz.

The multimode radio is capable of serving as a form, fit and function (F3) replacement for traditional AN/ARC-164 radios, and is remotely controlled by using a MIL-STD-1553B data bus or the R&S GB6500 control unit.

The first R&S M3AR radio for KC-390 prototype development is scheduled for delivery by 2013.

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Over 6,000 R&S M3AR radios have been delivered by the company to customers worldwide for integration into various aircraft types, including the A400M, Eurofighter Typhoon, NH90, Tiger and F16 fighter aircraft.

The FAB has ordered a total of 28 KC-390s from Embraer under a $1.3bn deal in April 2009, to help replace its current fleet of 22 Lockheed Martin-built C-130E/Hs and KC-130 aircraft.

The KC-390 is a twin-engine, medium-lift military transport aircraft designed to conduct troop and cargo transport in Antarctica and Amazon regions, as well as aerial delivery, in-flight refuelling, search and rescue (SAR) and medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) operations.

The first flight of the KC-390 is expected to take place in 2014, followed by entry into operational service in 2016.

Image: An Embraer’s KC-390 tanker aircraft during its flight. Photo: courtesy of Cobham.