Brazilian manufacturer Embraer test-flew the new KC-390 tactical tanker/airlifter for the first time on a hop from its production facility at São José dos Campos, Brazil, Feb. 3, the company announced. “The KC-390 behaved in a docile and predictable manner,” said test pilot Brazilian air force Capt. Mozart Louzada. Brazil’s air force has ordered 28 of the twin-turbofan, high-wing, fly-by-wire multirole tanker-airlifters, which form “the backbone of transport aviation” for the service, said Brazilian air force commander Lt. Brig. Gen. Nivaldo Luiz Rossato. NATO allies, the Czech Republic and Portugal, along with Argentina made hand-shake deals to purchase a total of 32 additional aircraft, according to the company. The aircraft is designed to lift a 56,000-pound payload up to 1,380 nautical miles, at a cruising speed of 540 miles per hour, giving it a slightly higher speed and payload, but shorter range than the Lockheed Martin C-130J, according to manufacturer factsheets.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.