A KC-390 is on the assembly line. (Embraer)
FARNBOROUGH ENGLAND — The first flight of Embraer’s KC-390 tactical airlifter remains on schedule to take place by the end of this year, according to program Vice President Paulo Gastao Silva.
Briefing reporters on the first day of the Farnborough International Airshow, the executive declined to put an actual date on the maiden flight of the twin-turbofan airlifter but said it was planned to occur in 2014.
The second and final test aircraft is already in assembly and is targeted to fly in the first half of next year, he said.
“The program is on track with first deliveries to the Brazilian Air Force due in the second half of 2016,” Silva said.
The Brazilian Air Force signed a contract in May for the delivery of 28 KC-390s, although the final documentation on the deal remains to be cleared. That’s expected in the next few weeks.
Aside from Brazil, program partners Argentina, Chile, Colombia, the Czech Republic and Portugal have agreed to purchase up to 32 aircraft although no firm deals have yet been agreed.
With a maximum payload of 23 tons, the aircraft is aimed at challenging Lockheed Martin’s dominance of the twin engine tactical airlifter market.
Jackson Schneider, the president and chief executive of Embraer Defense & Security, declined to give figures for the potential market size for the KC-390 but said he was “pretty confident the aircraft will have a significant presence in the market.” ■