IAE steps into military market with KC-390 win

Washington DC
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Embraer has selected a new member of the International Aero Engines (IAE) family of turbofans to power the KC-390 military airlifter, ending a protracted bidding process and launching the V2500 into the military market.

The engine maker, a joint venture between Pratt & Whitney of the US, Rolls-Royce of the UK, Germany’s MTU Aero Engines and Japanese Aero Engine Corp, confirms the KC-390 will be powered by an engine called the V2500-E5.

IAE advertises three models of the V2500 – the A1, A5 and D5 – but not the E5.

The E5 variant will require no modifications, but only slight alterations to adapt the turbofan for a military application, IAE said.

To support the Brazil-based aircraft manufacturer’s timetable, IAE must deliver the first test engines in 2013, followed by production engines in 2015.

The selection is a key victory as IAE works to keep the V2500 relevant in a decade that will usher in the next generation of turbofans in the form of the Pratt & Whitney PW1000G Geared Turbofan (GTF) and the CFM International Leap-X. Embraer selected the V2500 over the CFM56.

Until Embraer’s selection announcement, the engine supplier was the last missing piece in establishing the KC-390 supply chain in the development phase. The company had targeted engine selection in the second quarter, but acknowledged in April that it could stretch into July without affecting the overall schedule.

The Brazilian Air Force launched the KC-390 in April 2009, signing a $1.3 billion contract for Embraer to launch the development phase. Last year, the air force committed to purchase 28 aircraft after 2015.

Embraer has since received commitments – but not orders -- for another 32 aircraft from five other countries, including Argentina, Chile, Colombia, the Czech Republic and Portugal.