Embraer intends to secure civil certification for its proposed C-390 military airlifter in an attempt to sell the aircraft to civil freight operators such as FedEx Express and DHL.

The twin-engined, high-wing C-390, which will have a 19t payload, was originally to be based on the Embraer 190 regional jet and use similar powerplants, but the design has been enlarged to meet the requirements of potential air force customers, reducing the level of commonality. Civil approval is planned under US Federal Aviation Administration Part 25 regulations.

"We know that it will be a headache in the future to get the [civil] certification, but we believe, based on our experience with commercial jets, that it will pay off," Embraer vice-president for the Asian defence market Sergio Bellato Alves said at the Aero India show in Bangalore.

C-390 new look
 © Embraer

Embraer is "on the verge" of announcing the programme, says Bellato, "as soon as we finish the negotiations with the Brazilian air force". He adds that the launch decision could come "in a matter of weeks".

Bellato says: "We believe that now we have, if not the final configuration, at least we are approaching it. We are in negotiations with the Brazilian air force to jump-start this programme. We believe that it will be happening pretty soon."

Supplier selections for the C-390 will "probably happen in a few months", he says. "Maybe at the end of this year we can start to talk to possible suppliers."


Source: Flight International