The Brazilian air force received its first Embraer KC-390 transport in a ceremony at Anápolis Air Base outside of Brasilia on 4 September.

The service is starting preparations for the transport’s entry into service with its First Troop Transport Group. Embraer says it has already been conducting “theoretical and practical training with the air force teams to start operations”.

“The incorporation of the KC-390 into the Brazilian air force is a milestone in military aviation,” says Brazilian air force commander, Lieutenant-Brigadier Antonio Carlos Moretti Bermudez. “Its modernity will bring an implementation and improvement in the doctrine of use of this multi-mission vector, greatly contributing to the fulfillment of the mission to control, defend and integrate the [2.2 billion ha (5.4 billion acres)] under our responsibility.”

KC-390 - Brazilian air force

Embraer KC-390 for the Brazilian air force

Brazilian air force

The Brazilian air force has 27 more aircraft on order. In July, the Portuguese air force became the KC-390’s first export customer with a firm order of five examples.

Embraer has 33 letters of intent for the KC-390, including six from the Argentine air force, six from the Chilean air force, 12 from the Colombian air force, two from the Czech Republic air force, one from the Portuguese air force and six from aviation services firm SkyTech, according to Cirium fleets data.

Development of the KC-390 was started in 2009 as a joint project between the Brazilian air force and Embraer. The first example flew in 2015.

The KC-390 competes directly with the Lockheed Martin C-130J four-engine turboprop transport. Both aircraft are designed for a variety of roles including troop and cargo transport, aerial refueling, humanitarian support, medical evacuation, search and rescue and forest fire fighting missions. Embraer says the KC-390’s two IAE V2500 turbofan engines and swept wing design make it more efficient and give it “the lowest life-cycle cost in the market”.

As part of its purchase agreement with the Brazilian air force, Embraer says it signed a five-year services and support contract. That contract makes it responsible for logistical and engineering support, maintenance control, component repair, support staff for the aircraft’s entry into service and materials supply. The agreement also encompasses structural analysis, maintenance bulletin development, aircraft painting and other services, says the manufacturer.