The Portuguese government authorized the start of negotiations to buy five Embraer KC-390 military transport aircraft for Força Aérea Portuguesa (Portuguese Air Force, FAP).
The aircraft will replace Lockheed Martin C-130H ‘Hercules’ tactical airlifter operated by Squadron 501 “Bisontes” deployed at Montijo Air Base No 6.
The cabinet decided on “up to five KC-390, with an option for one more”, along with the respective logistics backup and a flight simulator to be installed and operated in Portugal. Portugal made an information request to Embraer last October.
The talks could lead to Embraer’s first foreign sale of the KC-390, adding to a firm order for 28 aircraft placed by the Brazilian Air Force in 2014.
Several Portuguese companies, including OGMA-Indústria Aeronáutica de Portugal (partially owned by Embraer), Embraer Metálicas, Embraer Compósitos, and CEiiA, are involved with the KC-390 programme, which favours a potential buy of the type.
Portugal is among five countries that have tentatively agreed to buy the KC-390 since 2010, along with Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Czech Republic.
The aircraft would conduct troop and cargo transport, firefighting, and air-to-air refueling missions in the Portuguese Air Force service.
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.