Embraer plans to finalise a contract with the Brazilian air force in the third quarter of this year for 28 KC-390s, passing up an opportunity to stage the event at the Farnborough air show.
The country's air force signed a R7.2 billion ($3.3 billion) contract for series production and logistics support of 28 KC-390s on 20 May, but the order has not yet been finalised. Both sides are working to complete “complementary documentation” to clinch the deal and allow Embraer to add the aircraft to its order backlog.
In 2010, Embraer used the global stage at Farnborough to sign a letter of intent with the Brazilian air force for the type, which will serve as a tactical transport and in-flight refuelling tanker.
The KC-390 development programme was launched in 2009, with a goal to declare the aircraft operational in 2016.
First flight of the lead example is scheduled for later this year. However, Embraer released pictures in late May showing the fuselage structure of the KC-390 inside the factory in Gavião Peixoto, revealing that the aircraft – its first of only two prototypes – had not yet reached the final body join stage.
On 24 June, Embraer said one of the two aircraft was in the final assembly line, with the second in the structural assembly line, and that it was "very satisfied" with the progress of the programme.
Embraer has signed letters of intent with Argentina, Chile, Colombia, the Czech Republic and Portugal to acquire up to 32 more aircraft.
The International Aero Engines V2500-powered KC-390 is intended to compete with the four-engined Lockheed Martin C-130J turboprop.
Additional reporting by Ghim-Lay Yeo