The Portuguese Air Force is set to receive five KC-390 new-generation multi-mission airlifters under an order placed with Embraer.

The procurement of the airlifters is part of the Portuguese Government’s efforts to modernise the capabilities of the service to support national armed forces operations and increase readiness.

Embraer will begin deliveries in 2023. The Brazilian company noted that the KC-390 military transport aircraft is designed to deliver improved efficiency and productivity.

The aircraft can be used to conduct humanitarian support, medical evacuation, search and rescue, and aerial firefighting.

Additionally, the KC-390 will feature capabilities such as enhanced cargo and troop transport, aerial delivery and refuelling.

Embraer Defense & Security president and CEO Jackson Schneider said: “The Portuguese KC-390 will meet new interoperability requirements in the areas of secure navigation, data and voice transmission that will allow the KC-390 to integrate joint operations in multinational alliances in which Portugal is integrated.

“These requirements, developed in partnership with the Portuguese Air Force, will enable the KC-390 to meet the needs of many other nations around the world.

“The industrial partnership between Portugal and Embraer contributes to the development of engineering and the Portuguese aeronautics industry, representing more than €300m in exports each year and thousands of highly skilled jobs.”

The Brazilian Air Force will be the launch customer for the KC-390 programme. Embraer signed a development contract for the project in April 2009.

Portugal is the first confirmed export customer for the KC-390 programme. Other countries interested in the programme include Argentina, Chile, Colombia, and the Czech Republic.

Embraer signed an agreement with Boeing for collaboration on the programme in 2012.