The Portuguese Government has awarded a contract to Embraer for the procurement of five KC-390 multi-mission airlifters.

The contract was signed during a ceremony held at Embraer’s facility in Évora, Portugal.

Under the contract, Embraer will also provide services, support and a flight simulator. The company will begin aircraft deliveries in 2023.

The purchase of the KC-390 aircraft will boost the government’s efforts to modernise Portuguese Air Force capabilities to support operations and improve mission readiness.

Embraer defence and security president and CEO Jackson Schneider said: “This is the highest achievement of a careful selection process that makes us proud, representing the entry of the KC-390 into the international market.

“The KC-390 will meet Portugal’s operational needs, ensuring the ability to integrate with allied nations for decades to come. This contract strengthens the industrial partnership between Portugal and Embraer, contributing to the development of the engineering and aeronautics industry in Portugal.”

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Embraer noted that the KC-390 will deliver efficiency and productivity, with low maintenance costs over its service life.

The aircraft is designed to conduct a range of missions, including, humanitarian support, medical evacuation, search and rescue, firefighting, as well as cargo and troop transport.

In addition, it is capable of performing aerial delivery and refuelling operations.

The KC-390 programme is touted as an international programme, with the Brazilian Air Force as the launch customer.

Portugal is a major partner of the programme with the country playing a role in the development and production of the airlifter.

Argentina, Chile, Colombia, and the Czech Republic also expressed interest in the KC-390 programme.