The Portuguese Air Force’s KC-390 Millennium is officially in operation. The transfer flight that began on Tuesday and concluded two days earlier marked the operational debut of the Embraer aircraft.
The tactical transport jet is the first of five aircraft ordered by Portugal and also marks the debut of the KC-390 in Europe.
The aircraft registration FAP 26091 landed at Air Base No. 11, in Beja, at 4:30 pm local time, and was officially handed over to Squadron 506 “Rhinos”, which will operate them.
The FAP’s KC-390 is also the first to feature standard NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) equipment that was integrated during a test campaign carried out in Portugal between Embraer, OGMA and the Air Force.
The delivery ceremony of the first C-390 took place on Monday, October 16, at the Embraer unit in Gavião Peixoto, Brazil.
“This is a wonderful time for us, as we witness the first KC-390 Millennium enter into service outside Brazil. The Portuguese Air Force is an Embraer’s strategic partner, having supported us since the beginning of the KC-390 Millenium’s internationalization. Embraer and the Portuguese Air Force will continue working together to advance our long-term projects for years to come,” says Walter Pinto Junior, COO of Embraer Defense & Security.
“The entry into service of this aircraft is significant for the Portuguese Air Force and Portugal, as it completes the development and production of a multi-value aircraft capable of the most demanding operational scenarios. The requirements set by the Portuguese Air Force have taken this aircraft to an even higher technological and capability level,” says Brigadier-General João Nogueira, President of the KC-390 Program Supervision and Monitoring Mission.
Europe has been the most promising market for the C-390 Millennium so far. In addition to Portugal, Hungary placed an order for two aircraft while three other countries – the Netherlands, Austria and the Czech Republic – selected the Brazilian aircraft, with a total of 11 jets.