Brazilian Air Force KC-390

Austrian delegation in Brazil discusses possible KC-390 order with Embraer

Austrian Air Force intends to acquire up to five multi-mission aircraft to replace its C-130K Hercules

Negotiations between Embraer and the Austrian government for a possible order for the KC-390 Millennium airlifter are advancing, according to Reuters.

An Austrian delegation is in Brazil participating in LAAD, the largest defense and security event in Latin America, and discussing a possible agreement with the company.

In early April, Austrian Defense Ministry spokesman Michael Bauer revealed on Twitter that the government had launched an invitation to interested parties to provide an aircraft with a capacity to carry 20 tons and that could perform aerial refueling.

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The Austrian Air Force is expected to order between four and five aircraft to replace its aging C-130K Hercules turboprops.

Austrian C-130K (Adrian Pingstone)

The request suggests that only the C-130J, an advanced version of the Lockheed Martin aircraft, and the KC-390 Millenium, from Embraer, meet the needs of the Air Force.

Days before Bauer’s statement, government representatives participated in the first meeting of C-390 operators in Portugal, yet another indication of interest in the Brazilian plane.

A source heard by Reuters said that the KC-390 is being analyzed and that “there is mutual interest” in closing an agreement – the forecast is that this will occur in the first half of 2024.

NATO members

In service since 2019 with the Brazilian Air Force, the KC-390 has had three other customers since then, all of them European: Portugal, Hungary and the Netherlands, in the latter case still pending the signing of the contract.

Austria could benefit from the joint experience of European operators to use the KC-390, an aircraft that offers a performance considered superior to the C-130J.

The first meeting of KC-390 operators in Beja (FAP)

The long service career of the Hercules weighs in Lockheed Martin’s favour, an aircraft that has more than proved its capacity and versatility.

In addition, the US government exerts great influence on armaments agreements and Austria is one of the countries that is considering adopting the 5th gen F-35 fighter, also manufactured by the US company.


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