Austria selects Embraer C-390 as C-130 Hercules successor


The Austrian Air Force will replace its fleet of C-130 Hercules transport aircraft with the Embraer C-390 airlifter. 

The decision was announced in a conference held on September 20, 2023, by Austria’s Defense Minister Klaudia Tanner.  

“Since 2003, the three Hercules aircraft have completed many missions and have always been a reliable transport device for our soldiers,” Tanner said. “Now it is time for the Embraer C-390 to replace the C-130 Hercules.” 

The decision to transition to the Embraer C-390 comes after extensive evaluation and consideration of various aircraft options to meet Austria’s military requirements in terms of versatility, range, and cargo capacity. 

“Embraer’s aircraft system is the only one in the 20-ton [payload – ed. note] class that meets all of our requirements,” Tanner said. 

The Embraer C-390 Millennium stands as a versatile tactical transport aircraft, proficient in executing a wide spectrum of missions. These encompass humanitarian assistance, medical evacuations, search and rescue operations, troop and cargo transport, and even the possibility of configuring it for tasks like aerial refueling and waterbombing. Fueled by the Pratt and Whitney V2500-E5 engines, the aircraft boasts a cargo capacity of 26 tons. 

The Austrian Defense Minister began the procurement process to replace the C-130K in 2021, due to increasing maintenance costs. Four C-390 will be acquired to replace the current fleet of three Hercules. The estimated procurement costs for each aircraft range between €130 and €150 million. The ministry hopes to receive the first C-390 aircraft by 2026 or 2027. 

“Embraer is ready to support the Austrian Ministry of Defense and Air Force in order to meet the demanding requirements of their acquisition process and prepared to further strengthen the relationship with this nation,” the manufacturer said in a statement.  

The new C-390 will be operated by the Austrian Air Force Air Transport Squadron from Vogler Air Base, which shares the runway with Linz Airport (LNZ). 

Austria entered negotiations with the Netherlands, which also plans to operate the C-390, to cooperate on training and maintenance. 

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