Friday, July 12, 2019

Portugal places order for 5 KC-390s

via Embraer Press Release.
The Portuguese Government announced today a firm order of five multi-mission airlifters Embraer KC-390 as part of the process to modernize Portuguese Air Force capacities to support national Armed Forces operations and increase readiness in missions of public interest. Deliveries are scheduled to start in 2023.

The KC-390 is designed to set new standards for efficiency and productivity in its category while presenting the lowest life-cycle cost of the market. The aircraft can perform different types of military and civilian missions including humanitarian support, medical evacuation, search and rescue and firefighting, while fully meeting the requirements of the Portuguese Air Force, adding new superior cargo and troops transport, aerial delivery and aerial refueling capabilities.

“Today is a historic day for the KC-390 Program and I want to thank those who have contributed to the project. This is a very important step to consolidate the aircraft which we believe will become another success for Embraer. 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.” said Jackson Schneider, President and CEO of Embraer Defense & Security. “The industrial partnership between Portugal and Embraer contributes to the development of engineering and the Portuguese aeronautics industry, representing more than 300 million euros in exports each year and thousands of highly skilled jobs.”
Story here. 

I love this airplane.  I think that it COULD HAVE been a C-130 replacement but they got one thing wrong...

They built it too small.

The REAL C-130 replacement needs to be able to lift approx 60 tons today.  In essence the USAF retired a plane that it desperately needed and never sought a replacement for...the C-141.

That's where the future market is and no air force on the planet seems to have developed a jet plane to fill that void.

Yeah I'm aware the A400M and AN70 either meet or get close to that mark but as was seen in previous blog post, turboprops just have difficulty in that size range.

You need a jet plane and none are on the drawing board to my knowledge.

That's the rub for the KC390.  Its sized like the C-130 and in that niche the oldie will always win.  Its smaller than the A400M/AN70 so it can't compete.

If I was Embraer I'd design a stretched KC390 with four engines that's about the size of the A400M (or just a bit bigger) and see how much interest they get.

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