Embraer's KC-390 poses for a photo op with its ANAC type certification at the Brasília Air Force Base. (Embraer)
Embraer’s KC-390 multi-mission military cargo plane has received type certification from Brazil’s civil aviation authority, the ANAC, clearing a path to full operational capability next year.
Aimed at competing with Lockheed Martin’s long-dominant C-130 Hercules transport plane, the KC-390 completed the first flight of a production model earlier this month, priming it for certification.
Embraer partner Boeing is expected to help the KC-390 take on the C-130. In 2012, the two companies signed an agreement to share technical knowledge and market information in service of the KC-390. Then, this year, after Boeing took an 80 percent stake in the Brazilian company’s commercial business in July, the companies announced that the American manufacturer would also take a bigger role in marketing the military plane in America. Documents obtained by The Air Current’s Jon Ostrower indicate that Boeing also plans to help with KC-390 production in the U.S.
The Brazilian certification means that production collaboration could be happening soon. Embraer has said it expects the aircraft to reach full operational status and military certification from the Brazilian Air Force by the end of 2019. That opens the KC-390 for sale in 2020 and pursuit of U.S. certification. A number of South American countries have expressed interest in the type.
Brazil on Tuesday held a ceremony at the Brasília Air Force Base to celebrate the KC-390’s certification, which was attended by the country’s president, minister of defense and air force commander, in addition to Embraer executives.
“The certification of KC-390, the largest and most complex aircraft developed throughout Embraer's history, expresses the high technological level achieved by the company,” said Embraer Chief Executive Paulo Cesar de Souza e Silva.
Embraer is pitching the KC-390 as offering flexibility with the most affordable life-cycle cost in its class. Rockwell Collins is providing its Pro Line Fusion flight deck as well as cargo handling and aerial delivery control system. Flight control computers and actuator control electronics including fly-by-wire capabilities are coming from BAE Systems, while International Aero Engines is providing the KC-390 with the same V2500 turbofan engine that powers Airbus A320-family jets.