Embraer [ERJ] successfully completed the first flight test of the new KC-390 military transport and aerial refueling jet, the company said on Tuesday.
Test pilots Mozart Louzada and Marcos Salgado de Oliveira Lima flew the aircraft for one hour and 25 minutes today with flight test engineers Rapahel Lima and Roberto Becker. They conducted an evaluation of flying qualities and performance.
The crew performed maneuvers designed to evaluate flight characteristics and conducted systems tests. They prepared by using advanced simulations and extensive ground test, Embraer said.
“The KC-390 behaved in a docile and predictable manner. The advanced fly-by-wire flight control system and the latest-generation avionics make flying easy and render a smooth and precise flight,” Louzada said in a statement.
The KC-390 is a joint project of Embraer and the Brazilian Air Force to produce a tactical military transport and air-to-air refueling plane. It is designed to perform various missions including transport and airdropping of cargo and troops, aerial refueling, search and rescue, and forest fire response.
Embraer and the Brazilian Air Force signed a serial production contract for 28 KC-390s with initial logistical support on May 20, 2014.
“This first flight is a fundamental step toward accomplishing the task with which we were entrusted. The KC-390 is the result of a close cooperation with the Brazilian Air Force and international partners, representing what is most likely the greatest technological challenge that the company has ever encountered in its history. We are profoundly moved for having achieved this key milestone,” Frederico Fleury Curado, President and CEO of Embraer. said.
“The KC-390 will be the backbone of transport aviation for the Brazilian Air Force. From the Amazon to Antarctica, the fleet of 28 aircraft will play a key role in the diversity of projects of the Brazilian State, from scientific research to the maintenance of sovereignty”, Lieutenant-Brigadier General Nivaldo Luiz Rossato, Brazilian aeronautics commander, said.
The KC-390 is attracting interest from several countries beyond Brazil, the company said. This includes Argentina, Chile, Columbia, the Czech Republic, and Portugal. Current purchase intentions from other countries total 32 aircraft, the company added.