Czech Republic outlines need for two KC-390s

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Embraer's recent steady flow of teaming announcements on the KC-390 tanker/transport programme has continued apace, with the Czech Republic becoming the latest nation to signal its intention to participate in production of the twinjet.

Brazilian and Czech defence ministers Nelson Jobim and Alexandr Vondra on 13 September signed a declaration of intent linked to the project, opening the way for negotiations on possible Czech industrial involvement. The Czech air force could also acquire two KC-390s under the pact.

Czech firm Aero Vodochody could manufacture the Brazilian-designed aircraft's rear fuselage, doors and wing leading edges, the nation's defence ministry says.

"We are very pleased with the interest shown by the Czech government in participating in the KC-390 programme," says Orlando José Ferreira Neto, Embraer's executive vice-president, defence market. Co-operation on the military transport "can be the beginning of a solid, long-term relationship", he believes.

Vondra agrees, noting: "We see a promising co-operation in the modernisation of older equipment."

Embraer's latest sign of support for the KC-390 came during what was the first senior-level meeting to have taken place between the Brazilian and Czech defence ministries. The nations also agreed to pursue co-operation in the training of army personnel, with Czech soldiers to visit Brazil for jungle training.

 
© Embraer

The first prototype KC-390 should be ready in late 2014 or 2015, with the transport to have a maximum cargo capacity of around 19t.

Support for the programme now stands at five nations, including Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Portugal, and its potential orderbook is 54 aircraft.

The Czech air force's current transport inventory comprises five Antonov An-26s and eight Let L-410s, as listed by Flightglobal's MiliCAS database. The service has also recently taken delivery of its first of four C-295s from Airbus Military.