The Embraer KC-390 Millennium has been chosen as the successor to the aging Lockheed Martin C-130K Hercules. Austrian Defence Minister Klaudia Tanner officially announced this significant development on September 20th, marking a pivotal moment in the country’s military aviation history. Major General Harald Vodosek from the Austrian Federal Ministry of Defence confirmed that Austria will acquire four KC-390 aircraft, with a contract expected to be finalized in early 2024. While contract values and delivery timelines remain undisclosed, this selection highlights Austria’s dedication to enhancing its airlift capabilities. Austria’s decision follows its participation in a user meeting hosted by the Portuguese Air Force (Força Aérea Portuguesa, FAP), where discussions centered on the KC-390’s capabilities and opportunities for international collaboration. This move demonstrates Austria’s commitment to building partnerships and knowledge sharing in the realm of military aviation.
The Embraer C-390 Millennium is a medium-sized, twin-engine, jet-powered military transport aircraft, representing Embraer’s dedication to innovation and performance. The project’s journey began in the mid-2000s, with Embraer’s vision to create an aircraft that would utilize pure jet propulsion instead of turboprops. Support from the Brazilian government and the Brazilian Air Force bolstered the project, leading to its eventual realization. Partnerships with aerospace giants like Boeing further solidified its position in the market. The KC-390 Millennium’s design offers unparalleled flexibility, allowing for seamless mission adaptability. Its advanced cockpit features state-of-the-art technology, including head-up displays and Rockwell Collins Pro Line Fusion commercial avionics.
Powered by a pair of International Aero Engines (IAE V2500-E5) turbofan engines, the Embraer KC-390 Millennium boasts impressive performance, including a cruising speed of Mach 0.8. Its design enables rapid cargo configuration changes, making it suitable for various mission roles. With a spacious cargo hold and the ability to transport heavy payloads, the KC-390 is well-equipped to meet Austria’s military transport needs. The KC-390’s landing gear is designed to handle challenging terrain, making it suitable for austere airstrips and damaged runways. This adaptability ensures that the aircraft can perform in diverse operational environments, further enhancing Austria’s military capabilities. Furthermore, the KC-390 can refuel other aircraft in flight, enhancing its versatility and mission capabilities.
The Austrian Air Force (Österreichische Luftstreitkräfte) requirement to replace three former UK C-130K aircraft, as outlined in the latest defense budget, has led to an extensive evaluation process. The KC-390 was chosen from a list of potential candidates that included surplus C-130s, new C-130J Hercules, Leonardo C-27J Spartans, and Airbus C295 aircraft. As Austria embarks on this exciting journey to incorporate the Embraer KC-390 Millennium into its air force, the nation reaffirms its commitment to maintaining a strong and modernized defense. The KC-390 represents a new era of military transport aircraft, and Austria’s selection reflects its dedication to excellence in air force capabilities.