South Korea selects the Embraer C-390 Millennium

A Republic of Korea Air Force C-390 Millennium in flight.
Image Credit: Embraer

South Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) has declared Embraer’s C-390 Millennium as its choice for the Large Transport Aircraft (LTA) II public tender.

This tender decision positions South Korea as the C-390 Millennium’s inaugural customer in Asia, signifying a new chapter in military aviation.

A Landmark Contract

Under the signed contract, Embraer commits to delivering an undisclosed number of C-390 Millennium aircraft, meticulously tailored to meet the Republic of Korea Air Force’s (ROKAF) specific requirements.

The comprehensive package encompasses not only the aircraft but also vital services and support, including training, ground support equipment, and spare parts.

This agreement will be reflected in Embraer’s backlog in the fourth quarter of 2023, marking a significant milestone in aerospace collaboration.

Local Empowerment

Embraer goes beyond aircraft delivery, extending a comprehensive consortium and offset package. This includes a substantial portion of C-390 Millennium components to be locally manufactured by Korean partner companies.

Moreover, there’s a commitment to foster a local Maintenance Repair and Overhaul (MRO) provider, enhancing South Korea’s self-sufficiency in aerospace capabilities.


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Bosco da Costa Jr., President and CEO of Embraer Defense & Security, expressed enthusiasm about the Republic of Korea Air Force joining the esteemed group of C-390 Millennium operators.

Highlighting the aircraft’s prowess in efficiency, serviceability, and speed, da Costa Jr. emphasized the new era in Brazil-South Korea relations. The collaborative effort aims to elevate the aerospace and defense industries in both nations.

Global Recognition

South Korea’s decision solidifies its position as the seventh nation to choose the C-390 Millennium, following Brazil, Portugal, Hungary, the Netherlands, Austria, and the Czech Republic.

The C-390 is redefining military airlift paradigms, offering multi-mission capability, reliability, and built-in interoperability.

Since its induction into the Brazilian Air Force in 2019 and recent deployment with the Portuguese Air Force in 2023, the C-390 has amassed an impressive track record.

With over 10,800 flight hours and operational availability around 80%, the aircraft boasts a mission completion rate exceeding 99%, showcasing exceptional productivity in its category.

An Embraer C-390 Millennium on the tarmac at sunrise.
Photo Credit: Embraer

C-390: Versatility Redefined

The C-390’s ability to carry a substantial payload of 26 tons surpasses other medium-sized military transport aircraft.

Operating at a speed of 470 knots and with an extended range, it proves versatile in various missions, from cargo and troop transportation to medical evacuation, search and rescue, firefighting, and humanitarian endeavors.

Notably, the aircraft excels in operating on temporary or unpaved runways, including packed earth, soil, and gravel.

Aerial Refueling Capability

Configured with air-to-air refueling equipment and designated as the KC-390, the aircraft has already showcased its prowess in aerial refueling.

Serving as both a tanker and a receiver, the KC-390 efficiently receives fuel from another KC-390 using strategically positioned pods under the wings.

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By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 4 Min Read
4 Min Read
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