First Embraer KC-390 Millennium enters service with Portuguese Air Force


The first Embraer KC-390 Millennium multi-mission transport aircraft has officially entered into service with the Portuguese Air Force (FAP).  

The milestone was marked by a ceremony held on October 16, 2023, at the Embraer plant in Gavião Peixoto, Brazil. The aircraft will be operated by the Squadron 506 ‘Rinocerontes’ from Air Base No. 11 in Beja. 

It has become the first KC-390 airlifter to enter service outside Brazil. This follows an extensive flight tests campaign carried out in Portugal, made possible through a joint effort between Embraer, its Portuguese subsidiary OGMA, and the FAP, making sure the aircraft met both requirements set by the National Aeronautical Authority (AAN) of Portugal and NATO equipment standards. 

“The Portuguese Air Force is an Embraer’s strategic partner, having supported us since the beginning of the KC-390 Millenium’s internationalization,” said Walter Pinto Junior, COO of Embraer Defense & Security. “Embraer and the Portuguese Air Force will continue working together to advance our long-term projects for years to come.” 

In 2019, the FAP placed an order for five KC-390 multi-mission aircraft, a flight simulator and logistical support, in a contract that should amount to €827 million. These aircraft are due to replace the FAP’s current fleet of Lockheed Martin C-130H. 

Portugal is a major partner in the KC-390 program, with some of its parts, including the aircraft’s central fuselage, being produced by OGMA in Evora. 

The Embraer KC-390 Millennium will bring the FAP the capability to carry out a diverse range of missions ranging from medical evacuations, search and rescue missions, and troop and cargo transport. Equipped with two Pratt and Whitney V2500-E5 engines, the Millennium offers a cargo capacity of 26 tons. The variant chosen by the FAP can also conduct air-to-air refueling.  

Beyond Portugal, the KC-390 has received orders from Brazil and Hungary, and has recently been selected in the Netherlands, Austria and the Czech Republic. 

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