Embraer will deliver its first KC-390 transport/tanker from the middle of next year, with flight testing having reached an advanced stage.
In a third-quarter results statement issued on 27 October, Embraer said it "will be ramping up production of the KC-390" next year, "with first delivery of this jet expected in the second half of 2018". The Brazilian air force is its only confirmed buyer for the twinjet to date, with the service to field an eventually 28-strong fleet. The company has previously outlined a plan to hand over its first two customer aircraft in 2018.
"The development and certification of the KC-390 has been advancing as planned, with the two prototypes (aircraft 001 and 002) exceeding 1,350 flight hours, with high-altitude paratrooper and night-vision tests occurring successfully," Embraer says.
Production activities are also gathering pace, it says, with its first three series examples already in the assembly process, and parts manufacturing having commenced for aircraft 006, 007 and 008.
Meanwhile, the Brazilian manufacturer says it remains in "an advanced stage of negotiation" with the Portuguese government over a potentially five-aircraft sale, with Lisbon also seeking an option for a sixth example. Flight Fleets Analyzer records the Portuguese air force's current tactical transport inventory – of four Lockheed Martin C-130Hs – as being between 26 and 40 years in age.
Fleets Analyzer shows four other nations as having expressed interest in acquiring the International Aero Engines V2500-powered KC-390: Argentina (6), Chile (6), Colombia (12) and the Czech Republic (2). Embraer is offering the type, which has a maximum payload capacity of 26t, as a potential successor to the legacy C-130 Hercules.
"There are sales campaigns taking place in several countries around the world," Embraer says. The company deployed one of its two prototypes on a tour of nations in Africa, the Asia-Pacific region, Europe and the Middle East in mid-2017, after displaying the type at the Paris air show in June.