Embraer KC-390 lands in Australia en route to NZ

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The KC-390 at Brisbane Airport on Monday morning. (Lance Broad)

Embraer’s KC-390 airlifter has made a brief stop in Australia on its way to New Zealand as part of the aircraft’s 10-country demonstration tour.

The Brazilian manufacturer is bringing the KC-390 to New Zealand in support of its bid for the Royal New Zealand Air Force’s future air mobility and future air surveillance capability requirements to replace the C-130H and P-3K2 Orion maritime surveillance aircraft, Australian Aviation reports.

The KC-390 PT-ZNJ first touched down in Australia on Sunday afternoon at Port Hedland in Western Australia’s north west, having flown in from Kuala Lumpur.

The aircraft was on the ground for about five and a half hours before flying to Brisbane.

In June, Embraer confirmed it is offering the KC-390 for the RNZAF’s airlift requirement but declined to say if it is offering the KC-390 or a variant of the E195 airliner for the maritime surveillance role.

“We have solutions for both…and we decided to bid for both,” Embraer Defence & Security chief executive officer Jackson Schneider told Australian Aviation at the Paris Airshow.

“In maritime patrol we can offer solutions with the KC-390 or even offer solutions with the E195. Both are very efficient platforms to meet maritime patrol needs,” Schneider said.

To date, the two KC-390 development aircraft have flown about 1,000 flight hours.

The Brazilian air force is due to receive the first of 28 KC-390s it has on order in early 2018, while Portugal has announced plans to order five.

Although PT-ZNJ made stops in Port Hedland and Brisbane on its way to Auckland, Embraer is not demonstrating the KC-390 in Australia as part of the current tour, which in addition to New Zealand also covers Europe, the Middle East and South East Asia.