The Portuguese Ministry of National Defence (MoND) has started negotiations with Brazilian aerospace major Embraer Defense & Security to procure five KC-390 long-range military transport aircraft for the Força Aérea Portuguesa (Portuguese Air Force, FAP).
The contract also includes an option for a sixth aircraft and one Level D full-flight simulator.
The aircraft will replace Lockheed Martin C-130H ‘Hercules’ tactical airlifter operated by Squadron 501 “Bisontes” deployed at Montijo Air Base No 6.
Portugal will set up an integrated team to negotiate the terms and conditions of the procurement with Embraer over the next three months.
Embraer KC-390 is a medium-size, twin-engine jet-powered military transport aircraft under development by Brazilian aerospace manufacturer Embraer, able to perform aerial refuelling and to transport cargo and troops.
It is the heaviest aircraft that the company has made to date, and will be able to transport up to 26 tonnes (29 tons) of cargo, including wheeled armoured fighting vehicles.
The aircraft is powered by two IAE V2500-E5 turbofans generating 139.4 kN(31,330 lbf) thrust each.
The KC-390 is capable of carrying out various missions, such as transporting cargo, troops or dropping paratroopers, and aerial refueling, search and rescue, medical evacuation and aerial firefighting, in addition to supporting humanitarian missions.
The aircraft can transport cargo at a maximum speed of 470 knots (870 km/h), as well as operate in hostile environments, including from unprepared or damaged runways.
Other than Brazil, five countries have tentatively agreed to buy the KC-390 since 2010, along with Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Czech Republic and Portugal.