Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Embraer's KC-390 flies at last


The Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer is positioning its KC-390 airlifter as a modern competitor to Lockheed's venerable C-130 HerculesIt flew today for the first time.  Here's a video clip of the occasion. I recommend watching it in full-screen mode.





I think the KC-390 has the potential to be a real challenger in the field of medium airlifters.  If its cargo capacity and rough-field performance match that of the C-130 (as they were designed to do), and its price point works out as planned (roughly two-thirds to three-quarters that of a current-production C-130J model), it may achieve significant market penetration.  Even more interesting is that Boeing has partnered with Embraer in an aircraft marketing deal.  Boeing's C-17 program is winding down, and it'll be wanting to keep at least a toehold in the military transport market.  The KC-390 would be eminently suitable for that purpose.

Congratulations to Embraer on achieving this milestone.  I'll be watching the KC-390 program with great interest.

Peter

6 comments:

Bob said...

So, another American company is losing out to a foreign competitor.

And your last post was about American unemployment.

Tell me, how can you be worried about American unemployment while at the same time be congratulating a foreign competitor that will cause even more unemployment?



Peter said...

I don't think this will cause more American unemployment; in fact, thanks to Boeing's tie-in with Embraer, it may increase it. Embraer certainly won't knock Lockheed out of the market. Also, why not congratulate a company whose airliners are criss-crossing US skies right now on developing another innovative product? US companies could have done so a long time ago, but didn't bother. That's why Canadian and Brazilian manufacturers now dominate some market segments.

Bob said...

I suppose I must rather grudgingly agree...

The world is changing and we had better change with it.

Tony Tsquared said...

Nope, this may be a good mid-size platform but it has one flaw. It is a jet. It cannot land on a dirt or gravel runway. It must have a tarmac or cement runway without any foreign object littering the runway to be sucked into the turbine.

Peter said...

@Tony: I think you may be surprised. The aircraft specifications (from the Brazilian Air Force) include a requirement for "semi-prepared field" operation. If you look at the engine air intakes, they're much longer than those of the same engines on Airbus airliners - I think because filters will be installed there when necessary.

For more information on how the design has evolved, see:

http://www.airforce-technology.com/projects/kc-390/

Anonymous said...

@Tony Tsquared: Have you not seen a C17 takeoff or land on dirt- it is also a jet- its exactly the same concept with the KC390...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=diX3x6ffvSA