Air Force welcomes first KC-390
The first KC-390 arrived on Portuguese soil last Sunday, escorted by two F-16 fighter jets. Photo from official site of Portuguese Air Force/

Air Force welcomes first KC-390

KC-390s will replace iconic C-130 Hercules 

The Portuguese Air Force’s first KC-390 aircraft – purchased from Brazilian company Embraer and with components produced in Portugal – has been presented today in Beja in a ceremony presided over by Prime Minister António Costa.

This is the first of five aircraft of this type that Portugal agreed to buy in 2019 from Embraer to replace the iconic C-130 Hercules which have been in service for decades. 

The cost of the purchase comes to €827 million.

This new cargo and transport aircraft will only be officially handed over to the Air Force (FAP) in February, explains Lusa, followed by one more per year until February 2027.

What has to go ahead now first is  “integration” of the aircraft into NATO equipment and all the necessary pre-certification.

The KC-930 is adapted for transporting and launching cargo and troops, aerial refuelling, search and rescue, and forest firefighting.

This is the heaviest aircraft that Embraer has developed to date. It can carry payloads of up to 26 t (57,000 lb), such as two fully-tracked M113 armored personnel carriers, one Boxer armoured vehicle, a Sikorsky H-60 helicopter, 74 litters with life-support equipment, up to 80 soldiers or 66 paratroopers with full gear, and loads of up to 42,000 lb (19 t) can be air dropped, explains Wikipedia.

Portugal’s 2023 budget provides for total consolidated spending of €2.585 billion on national defence, adds Lusa – this includes an ‘extra’ €17 million of investment in the Military Programming Law (MPL) than originally estimated in 2022.