Embraer says that it has successfully completed a critical design review (CDR) for its KC-390 tactical transport and tanker aircraft in conjunction with the Brazilian air force. The review was completed on 22 March, the company says.

"We have concluded an important stage of the KC-390 programme and, therefore, we gave an accounting to the FAB [Brazilian air force] of the work done. We will now begin the production phase of the prototypes," says Luiz Carlos Aguiar, president and chief executive officer of Embraer's defence unit.

Completion of the CDR means that Embraer can start building the first KC-390 because the aircraft's aerodynamic and structural configuration are now set. Additionally, the aircraft's avionics architecture and systems installations have also been finalized. Manufacture of the prototype "will soon begin and all of the activities of the project are focused on taking the first flight in the second half of 2014," Embraer says.

The KC-390 is the largest airplane ever conceived and built by Brazil, and Embraer hopes it will compete head-to-head against the Lockheed Martin C-130J Hercules on the international market.

Source: Flight International