The Portuguese Air Force has welcomed its first KC-390 transport aircraft from Brazilian aerospace company Embraer.
Escorted by two Portuguese Air Force F-16Ms, the first of five KC-390s landed at Air Base No. 11 (BA11) in Beja in the morning hours of October 16.
The aircraft will now undergo integration of NATO equipment and will have to be certified by the Portuguese Civil Aviation Authority (ANAC) before it is delivered to the air force.
The aircraft that landed in Portugal on Sunday is the first of five airframes set for delivery under a contract Portugal and Brazil signed in 2019. The contract also included the delivery of a single simulator. The first Portuguese crew successfully completed the qualification course in November 2021.
Portugal is the first European operator of the KC-390 and will be joined by Hungary, which is set to receive its first airframe in 2024.
Earlier this year, the Dutch defense ministry revealed it selected the Embraer-built C-390 Millenium as replacement for its C-130H Hercules transport aircraft.
The C-390 Millennium was developed as a joint project between the Brazilian Air Force and Embraer. The aircraft can perform a variety of military and civilian missions, including humanitarian missions, medical evacuation, search and rescue, aerial firefighting, cargo and troop transport.
The KC-390 configuration ordered by Portugal and Hungary includes air-to-air refueling (AAR) capability.
Equipped with two International Aero Engines V2500 turbofan engines, a rear ramp and a cargo handling system, the C-390 Millennium is capable of carrying up to 26 metric tons of cargo at a maximum speed of 470 knots (870 km/h), with the ability to operate in austere environments, including from unpaved or damaged runways. The aircraft can carry troops, pallets, armored wheeled vehicles and helicopters.