The Portuguese government has started formal negotiations with Embraer to buy five KC-390 transport aircraft to replace the C-130 fleet.

Portugal buys Embraer KC-390
Embraer KC-390

The Council of Ministers has authorized to open the negotiations with Embraer Defense and Security SA for the acquisition of five KC-390 medium airlifts with an option for one more plane, and a flight simulator (CAT D full-light simulator).

The total value of the deal and deadlines have not been declared.

The nation needs to replace the C-130 fleet of the Portuguese Air Force and looks to a plane to be used for transport of goods and troops, air refueling, search and rescue and fight against fires.

The ability of the KC-390 to fight against fires greatly attracts the Portuguese government because in the future the Portuguese Air Force may have to take part in this type of missions.

The negotiations to include all the logistic supports and customizations required by the Portuguese Air Force.

The Embraer KC-390 is a medium-size, twin-engine jet-powered military transport aircraft able to perform aerial refuelling and to transport cargo and troops. It is the heaviest aircraft that the Brazilian company has made to date, and will be able to transport up to 29 tons of cargo, including wheeled armoured fighting vehicles.

In April 2013, six countries had commitments for 60 KC-390s: Argentina (6), Brazil (28), Chile (6), Colombia (12), Czech Republic (2), and Portugal (6). In addition, Embraer is in advanced talks to offer the KC-390 to New Zealand.

In November 2016, Embraer responded to the RFI of the New Zealand, which is looking to replace the five C-130 Hercules of the Royal New Zealand Air Force, offering five KC-390s. The selection is expected for mid-2017.

Embraer will show its KC-390 in the air and on the ground during the coming Paris Air Show 2017.

Written by Matteo Sanzani

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