Brazilian manufacturer Embraer has confirmed it is studying a military airlifter, the C-390, first revealed exclusively by Flight International last year.

The medium-size military transport uses technology from the Embraer 190 small airliner, but has a high wing and rear loading ramp.

Embraer says the C-390 has fly-by-wire flight controls and can be equipped for aerial refueling, both as a receiver and a tanker.

Embraer C-390

The artist’s impression released by the Brazilian manufacturer shows the high-mounted wing, raised tail and prominent sponsons for high-flotation landing gear.

The C-390, if developed, would be the heaviest aircraft ever produced by Embraer, carrying up to 19t (41,890lb) of cargo including wheeled armoured vehicles.

This places the aircraft between the twin-turboprop Alenia C-27J, with an 11.5t payload, and the Lockheed Martin C-130J, with a 21.7t payload.

“Our analyses indicate that there is a potential market for this type of aircraft worldwide, especially to substitute older models that will reach the end of their useful life over the coming decade, says Luiz Carlos Aguiar, vice-president, defence and government market.

“We have discussed with other specialised mainline companies jointly sharing the development,” he says. Embraer says it plans to release more information on the study “in good time”.

Embraer has only a small defence business, building the EMB-314 Super Tucano turboprop trainer and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) variants of its ERJ-145 regional jet family, as well as performing upgrades of combat aircraft operated by the Brazilian air force.