The Czech Republic Air Force could be one of the next customers for the Embraer KC-390 Millennium. The potential order was acknowledged by the Commander of the force, Major General Petr Čepelka in an interview with the Czech outlet iROZHLAS.
The official revealed that the Air Force is evaluating not only the C-390 but also the A400 (Airbus) and the C-130J (Lockheed Martin), but confirmed that the Embraer aircraft is the favorite.
“If we evaluate all the important circumstances that somehow influence the acquisition of this type of aircraft, then we will probably be able to obtain a plane exactly in this category, like the Embraer C-390”, he said.
Čepelka revealed that the plan is to have two military transport aircraft and that they will complement the six Airbus C295, with less capacity. He expects the first plane to be delivered between 2024 and early 2025, but declined to provide further details.
According to the Commander, “right now, the finalization of the specifications and comment procedures for the specification of medium transport aircraft is underway, and I assume that in the next few days this specification will be submitted to those responsible for the acquisition.”
Čepelka downplayed the fact that Aero Vodochody is Embraer’s partner in the production of the KC-390. The Czech company is responsible for supplying the leading edge, cabin doors, loading ramp and part of the rear fuselage, but the military chief considered this factor less important for the armed forces.
Letter of Intent in 2010
The Czech Republic has long been a strong candidate for the C-390 Millennium. In 2010, the European country signed a letter of intent for the acquisition of two aircraft, however, a firm agreement was never signed.
Recently, Embraer sent a KC-390 to the Czech Republic to demonstrate its capabilities, including loading and unloading a Pandur II armored vehicle.
In September 2022, the Millennium jet participated for the first time in NATO Days, one of the biggest military air shows in the continent, which was held at Ostrava Airport.