Embraer on 20 December declared initial operational capability (IOC) for the KC-390 under the standards set by the Brazilian air force (FAB).
The milestone means that the military transport and tanker has complied with the FAB's terms for IOC, which includes obtaining a provisional type certificate from Brazil’s civil aviation authority (ANAC).
Embraer’s third KC-390 remains in final assembly and is on track for delivery to the FAB’s 11th Wing in Rio de Janeiro next year. It will become the first operational aircraft to roll off Embraer’s production line, following the two flight test vehicles that emerged in 2014 and 2015.
“We are pleased to announce the achievement of this important milestone for the KC-390 Program,” says Jackson Schneider, president and chief executive of Embraer Defense & Security.
“The certification campaign has progressed as planned and the tests performed have been very successful, proving the maturity of the aircraft and confirming the performance and the anticipated capacities,” Schneider adds.
Several more steps await the scheduled declaration in 2018 of full operational capability, which is roughly equivalent to the USA’s standard for IOC.
The ANAC must issue a final type certificate to Embraer to approve the aircraft to operate in civil airspace with no restrictions. The FAB also needs Embraer to complete a final series of aerial refueling and cargo dropping tests.
So far, the two KC-390 prototypes have logged more than 1,500h of flight tests, Embraer says. On the ground, laboratories have completed more than 40,000 hours of testing on KC-390 components and systems. Structural testing also is nearing the end, Embraer says, with the full-scale fatigue test still pending.