Embraer delivered on 26 June a second KC-390 Millennium to the Portuguese air force (FAP), another step in the Brazilian airframer’s strategy of courting NATO countries. 

Configured with NATO-standard equipment, the aircraft is the eighth C/K-390 to enter service globally since Embraer launched the platform in 2019, and the second of five tanker variants ordered by FAP that same year. 

“The second KC-390 Millennium delivery to the Portuguese air force is another important step in the process of internationalising our aircraft, which is increasing its market recognition particularly among NATO nations,” says Bosco da Costa Junior, chief executive of Embraer Defense & Security.

“The Portuguese air force is a long-term partner of Embraer and has supported us strategically since the beginning of the programme,” he adds. 

KC-390 Portugese air force

Source: Embraer/LinkedIn

The Portuguese air force took delivery of the country’s second KC-390 on 26 June 

The first KC-390 delivered to Portugal entered service in October 2023 at Beja air base.

“The aircraft configured with air-to-air refuelling equipment, with the designation KC-390, has already proven its aerial refuelling capacity both as a tanker and as a receiver,” Embraer says. 

The second aircraft will allow FAP to “increment operational missions and prepare additional crew members and technicians for the future to come”, says Joao Cartaxo Alves, the Portuguese air force’s chief of staff.

During Embraer’s media day in Sao Jose dos Campos on 18 June, da Costa told reporters that Embraer is pursuing a strategy of expanding its customer base with NATO’s European member countries. “We would like to access the discussions inside of NATO; we would like to access funding coming from NATO,” da Costa says. 

Two more KC-390s are on the verge of delivery – one to Hungary and another to Brazil. Meanwhile, Embraer is aggressively pursuing KC-390 sales in Europe and hopes to secure a contract with the US government. 

 Embraer says the fleet of KC-390s in operation has logged 13,000 flight hours to date.