The Portuguese Air Force has welcomed its first Embraer KC-390 military transport aircraft. The military transport aircraft that landed in Portugal on Sunday is the first of five airframes set. In February 2010, Embraer proposed the C-390 to the Portuguese Ministry of Defense as a replacement option for the Portuguese Air Force’s aging fleet of C-130s. In December 2011, the Portuguese government was reportedly set to sign an €87–million contract with Embraer regarding participation in the production of the C-390. In July 2017, the Portuguese Government authorized the purchase of five C-390 airlifters, with the option for a sixth. The deal, which includes not only five C-390s but also a flight simulator for pilot training, was reportedly costed at €827 million. The first aircraft was set to be delivered to Portugal in February 2023, while the final C-390 was to be handed over by February 2027.
The Embraer C-390 Millennium is a medium-size, twin-engine, jet-powered military transport aircraft designed and produced by the Brazilian aerospace manufacturer Embraer. It is the heaviest aircraft the company has constructed to date. Its design permits flexible operations; both the internal and external configuration of the aircraft can be rapidly interchanged to accommodate different mission roles. It also incorporates modern technology and mission software to aid crews in carrying out operations. The cockpit has head-up displays for the enhanced vision system with four cameras and Rockwell Collins Pro Line Fusion commercial avionics. The C-390 can refuel in flight other aircraft through two wing-mounted probe and drogue pods from Cobham plc; these can deliver fuel at up to 1,500 L (400 US gal) per minute from a 35 t (77,000 lb) total fuel capacity.
The hold of the aircraft has a length of 18.5 m (61 ft), width of 3.45 m (11.3 ft), and height of 2.95 m (9 ft 8 in), and is primarily accessed via a large rear ramp built into the tail. It can carry payloads of up to 26 t (57,000 lb), this allows for the carriage of either two fully-tracked M113 armored personnel carriers, one Boxer or Brazilian VBTP-MR Guarani wheeled armoured vehicle, a Sikorsky H-60 helicopter, 74 litters with life-support equipment, up to 80 soldiers or 66 paratroopers with full gear, and loads of up to 42,000 lb (19 t) can be air dropped. A cargo handling and aerial delivery system, produced by DRS Defense Solutions, is incorporated. The aircraft is powered by a pair of IAE V2500-E5 turbofan engines, which are mounted forward on the high wing; this wing features an anhedral angle, slats, and High-lift devices able to deflect up to 40°.
The C-390 Millennium is equipped with fully fly-by-wire flight controls combined with active sidesticks, which reduces the crew’s workload over conventional counterparts and permits load factors up to 3g. An autothrottle system is also installed. The navigation systems, which were largely supplied by Thales Group, include an Inertial Navigation System (INS), GPS, and Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) transponder. It is fitted with SELEX Galileo’s Gabbiano tactical radar, capable of GMTI, SAR, ISAR, SART modes amongst others. For self-defense purposes, an Elbit Systems-supplied directional infrared countermeasures suite is also typically installed. An integrated onboard maintenance system actively monitors the health of the overall aircraft and various subsystems at all times.