Despite a plea from Brazilian Air Force (FAB) to further reduce its KC-390 order, Embraer says it is still assembling 22 aircraft as per the contract.
The FAB reached a compromise with Embraer in February 2022 to slash the order to 22 aircraft, down from an initial 28, and extend the delivery schedule. Yet in late May 2022, a spokesperson for the air force said the objective was to reduce it even further, to 15 aircraft.
Speaking at the Embraer Media Day 2022, Jackson Schneider, CEO of Embraer Defense and Security, explained that the company was still working on assembling and delivering 22 multirole tankers as per its contract with the FAB.
The original deal included an option for an increase or reduction of 25% of the initial number of aircraft. Any further cut, however, will now need to be approved by the Brazilian congress.
The KC-390 Millennium is a tactical transport and inflight refueling aircraft. The biggest aircraft produced in Latin America, it is the flagship product of Embraer Defense and Security. Powered by two specially designed Pratt and Whitney V2500-E5 engines, it can carry 26 tons of cargo, including vehicles like two M113 armored personnel carriers, or a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter. It is designed to take off and land on semi-prepared and unpaved airfields.
The FAB received its first KC-390 on September 4, 2019. Embraer also received orders for five aircraft for Portugal, a partner in the development of the aircraft, and two for Hungary.
Schneider said the manufacturer was in talks with other potential customers, as well as a strategic partner that may join the program. In November 2019, Embraer and Boeing created a joint venture to support the development and sale of the aircraft. However, the US manufacturer withdrew from the partnership in April 2020