The Embraer C-390 Millennium: A Masterpiece of Innovation and Excellence

Date 23.2.2023

Setting New Standards in Medium Air Mobility with Unmatched Flexibility and Advanced Technology

The Embraer C-390 Millennium is a masterpiece of innovation and excellence; a new multi-mission military transport aircraft setting new standards in the category. Designed to meet the very demanding specification set by the Brazilian Air Force (FAB), the aircraft brings a new concept to the market, offering a versatile and multi-mission platform with very low operating costs and fast turnaround: an unbeatable combination. The C-390 provides air forces with exceptional fleet performance with a cost-effective combination of high levels of availability and productivity.

C-390 Millennium

C-390 Millennium

Designed and developed by Embraer, a global aerospace company with more than 50 years of history, the C-390 is part of a modern and innovative product’s portfolio offered by Embraer Defense & Security. Embraer has built its reputation for quality through the constant evolution of its commercial, executive, and defence portfolio. Its experience in supporting commercial aviation operations has created an ethos of high availability and maintainability; this has been incorporated into the C-390, Embraer’s most modern and sophisticated transport aircraft.

The C-390 Millennium’s military mission systems are truly impressive. It is equipped with state-of-the-art technology for the tactical radar, self-protection, avionics, vision enhancement, cargo handling and air drop. The ‘one aircraft many capabilities’ concept enables rapid reconfiguration for aerial resupply; aerial assault; air-to-air refuelling (the KC-390 variant); aerial firefighting; Search and Rescue (SAR); humanitarian aid; medical evacuation; and support to Special Operations. The C-390 can also be fitted with a removable EO/IR (Electro-Optical/Infra-Red) pod to enhance SAR, Maritime Patrol and Special Operations capabilities. 

The C-390 is built to withstand any challenge, whether it is the hottest, highest, driest areas in the world or the coldest in the ice and snow of the Arctic and Antarctica regions. It is designed to operate in austere environments with minimal ground support, including operations from unpaved (natural surface) or damaged runways.

Air forces are looking for an aircraft that is multi-mission capable and that is easy to maintain and operate. The C-390 offers flexibility, advanced technology, and the ability to operate in austere environments, which makes it the perfect match for any mission. Its built-in rapidly reconfigurable multi-mission design and maintainability features make it a cost-effective and efficient choice”, said Bosco da Costa Junior, President & CEO, Embraer Defense & Security. 

 

C-390 Millennium

C-390 Millennium

In comparison to other medium-sized military transport aircraft, the C-390 Millennium is a powerhouse. It flies faster (470 KCAS), carries more (max payload 26 tonnes), and goes further (1470 nm for 23 tonnes). In terms of range, speed, and payload it is 40% more effective than a medium lift turboprop. 

“The C-390 is establishing a position for itself in the market as the next generation multi-mission transport aircraft. It’s impressive performance, demonstrated on operations with the Brazilian Air Force and through participation in joint exercises with other air forces, is gaining the attention of governments and air forces around the world,” complements Bosco da Costa Junior

 

C-390 Millennium

C-390 Millennium

Highlights:

  • With the Embraer C-390 Millennium, Embraer has demonstrated a new generation of thinking, and created a new generation of aircraft.

  • Designed with flexibility at its core it offers unrivalled air mobility and cargo capacity in the military tactical transport aircraft category.

  • Fully compliant with future CNS/ATM requirements and equipped with state-of-the-art military mission systems.

  • Designed to operate in austere environments, from the driest desert areas to the icy conditions in the Arctic and Antarctica.

  •  A rapidly reconfigurable multi-mission design and maintainability that makes it an optimal choice for fleet performance.

  • The aircraft has been acquired by Portugal and Hungary, with deliveries scheduled in 2023 and 2024.

 

C-390 Millennium

C-390 Millennium

 

Why C-390 Millennium

The Embraer C-390 Millennium provides the perfect blend of mature and proven technology with state-of-the-art thinking to ensure the best of both worlds – reliability and new experience in performance. Delivers unrivalled air mobility and cargo capacity in the military tactical transport aircraft category.

It is fully compliant with future CNS/ATM requirements and military mission systems include: tactical radar; self-protection systems (IR and radar threats); state-of-the-art cargo handling system with continued computational drop point to precise aerial resupply; troopers and paratroopers seats and parachute  static line bags recovery; roll-on/roll-off modular airborne fire-fighting system; medical evacuation litters installation and intensive care units provisions; EO/IR pod for search & rescue and patrol; and other integrated mission systems capabilities including Night Vision systems. Interoperability in multi-domain networked data centric environments. 

Designed to operate in austere environments from the driest desert areas in the World to the icy conditions in the Arctic and Antarctica, including the Amazon region, where humidity levels average a breath-catching 88%, and operations with minimal ground support, including flight operations from unpaved or damaged runways. 

 

KC-390 air-to-air refuelling variant. Speed range enables probe-and-drogue AAR for fast fighter aircraft to helicopters; AAR pairings clearances already exist. Built-in rapidly reconfigurable multi-mission design – enhanced cargo handling system enabling quick reconfigurations from one mission to another, all mission’s configuration takes less than a duty day from ground operation/maintenance crew to be held.

 

Designed for Maintainability.  

The C-390 Millennium bringsA to operators a combination of mature solutions such as IAE V2500 eEngines, with accrued 240 millions of hours in commercial aviation operations and the widest global maintenance, support & spare part net and innovations, as well as the Rockwell Collins Pro Line Fusion Avionics, with all Mission Systems integrated to the avionics and Fly-By-Wire system, which negates the need for any control cable inspections and adjustments, reducing the maintenance. Also, the, use of commercial aircraft techniques and experience (MSG-3,On-board Maintenance System) to delivers the same airliner reliability and availability levels to military operators, and no scheduled airframe depot level maintenance, with reduced time on ground for maintenance. It provides air forces with optimal fleet performance generated by a cost-effective combination of high availability and productivity.

Acquisitions

In addition to Brazil, the aircraft has been acquired by Portugal (five aircraft) and Hungary (two aircraft), both NATO nations. The next step is the integration and tests of NATO systems, which will occur in Portugal in the first half of 2023, enabled by local industrial cooperation and participation, prior to the first delivery to the Portuguese Air Force. The first Hungarian aircraft is due to be delivered in 2024.

In June 2022, the Netherlands Ministry of Defence announced the selection of a fleet of five C-390 Millennium aircraft to replace their current fleet of C-130 Hercules, highlighting the performance and operational output of the aircraft as a key reason for their decision.

Embraer continues to play an active role in defence markets identified as having potential for new business. The technical competence of The Royal Netherlands Air Force represented a quality stamp for the C-390 and caused an immediate increase in the interest of the global market for the aircraft which, associated with the current geopolitical scenario, accelerated the requests for information about the C-390 by potential customers.

C-390 Millennium

C-390 Millennium

The C-390 in Brazil

 

Since its first delivery to the Brazilian Air Force (FAB), in 2019, the C-390 Millennium has proven its capability, reliability, and performance. The aircraft has been used in operations to transport equipment and medical supplies, ranging from liquid oxygen to vehicles across Brazil at the peak of the COVID-19 outbreak. Brazil’s current fleet of C-390s, all in its refuelling configuration (KC-390), stands at five aircraft of the 19 on order. The fleet has exceeded 7,500 flight hours to date with a mission completion rate of 99% which is outstanding availability and productivity for aircraft in this category. 

 

A FAB C-390 Millennium has recently resupplied the Brazilian Antarctic research station through airdrop, reinforcing the aircraft’s performance and utility in challenging environments and operational conditions. In its first mission to Antarctica, the C-390 Millennium delivered nine packages to the grateful personnel at the research station. If required the aircraft can airdrop 24 CDS (Container Delivery System) bundles up to a combined total of 21,400 kg. The aircraft took off from the city of Punta Arenas, south of Chile, carrying the supplies to the Brazilian research station and flew back non-stop.

 

Despite the limited drop zone, the highly accurate airdrop system allowed the release of two packages simultaneously, reducing the operation time in half from missions executed in the past with other aircraft types. The packages all landed within an average of 30 meters from the desired impact point on the drop zone, despite of the heavy winds in area, proving the exceptional capabilities of the aircraft.

 

The aircraft has demonstrated and proven that it can swiftly and effectively respond to situations such as displaced person evacuation missions, humanitarian aid and disaster relief missions and the full range of military air transport operations including dirt and damaged field operations.

 

The aircraft already participates in military exercises around the world, such as Operation Culminating, in the US. This was an operational joint exercise where the Brazilian Army and the Brazilian Air Force took part alongside the U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force. The Embraer C-390, C-130 and C-17 operated together for the first time during this joint exercise and both Air Forces were pleased with the performance of the C-390 and the results of the exercise.

 

Recently, a C-390 Millennium took part in the Multinational Combined Air Exercise SALITRE IV operation in the Atacama Desert region, described as the driest desert in the world, performing in-flight refuelling missions. The objective of Exercise SALITRE IV is to expand cooperation and relationships between air forces from South America, the US and Canada, increasing their interoperability through common planning in a NATO format.



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