Here’s interesting news about the KC-390. Embraer and Boeing are partnering on the sales and marketing of Embraer’s KC-390. The PR states: “Under the agreement, Boeing is the lead for KC-390 sales, sustainment and training opportunities in the U.S., UK and select Middle East markets. Embraer will manufacture the aircraft and collaborate on sales, sustainment and training.”
As the C-17 starts to slow down, Boeing wants to keep its tactical transport options open and the KC-390 is the best option. This news has to also be a warning for Lockheed Martin’s C-130. The C-130 is a legendary airplane that has been the leader in the segment and the KC-390 falls squarely into its patch.
Embraer will benefit from the huge defense footprint Boeing has. We can see this airplane being pitched to the US Marines, USAF and Coast Guard. For that matter, also to the Israeli Air Force whose C-130s are aging. Indeed there are thousands of C-130s that are aging. These airplanes are worked hard because they do tough work.
Competition for the C-130 should have been much tougher from the AN-70. But Antonov never did seem to get the program going, despite promising tests and initial interest. The Airbus A400M is way to large for many operators, and the C-130J is expensive. Is there a spot in there for the KC-390? If Embraer were to look for a partner to find one, Boeing would be first prize.