Print Friendly, PDF & Email

South Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) has declared the Embraer C-390 Millennium as the winner of its Large Transport Aircraft (LTA) II requirement to provide the Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) with a new military transport aircraft fleet, Embraer announced on 4 December 20023.

The win makes South Korea Embraer’s first C-390 Millennium customer in Asia. The value of the contract, which was not disclosed, will be included in Embraer’s backlog in the fourth quarter of 2023.

Under the signed deal Embraer will provide an undisclosed number of C-390 Millennium aircraft specially configured to meet ROKAF requirements, as well as services and support, including training, ground support equipment and spare parts. Embraer will also provide a comprehensive consortium and offset package, including a significant amount of C-390 Millennium parts to be locally manufactured by South Korean partner companies and the development of a local maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) provider.

“We welcome the Republic of Korea Air Force to the growing number of air forces operating the C-390 Millennium: the most modern military tactical transport aircraft,” Bosco da Costa Jr, President and CEO of Embraer Defense & Security, was quoted as saying in a company press release. “Day after day the aircraft has proven its capability to complete a wide range of missions with great efficiency, serviceability and speed.

“This is a new era in Brazil-South Korea relations and, together with our Korean partners, we are committed to growing the capabilities of its aerospace and defence industries,” Da Costa added.

South Korea is the seventh nation to select the C-390 after Brazil, Portugal, Hungary, the Netherlands, Austria and the Czech Republic.

The Republic of Korea Air Force has become the first Asian customer for the Embraer C-390, although it is not yet known how many aircraft South Korea will purchase. (Image: Embraer)

Since entering operation with the Brazilian Air Force in 2019, and most recently with the Portuguese Air Force in 2023, the C-390 “has proven its capacity, reliability, and performance”, Embraer stated. The company asserts that the fleet of C-390s currently in operation has accumulated more than 10,800 flight hours, demonstrating operational availability rates of around 80% and mission completion rates above 99%.

The C-390 can carry more payload (26 tonnes concentrated) compared to other medium-sized military transport aircraft and flies faster (870 km/h). By comparison, a Lockheed Martin C-130J-30 Super Hercules has a maximum payload of 21.7 tonnes and a maximum cruising speed of 657 km/h.

While the C-390 can achieve a range of 2,000 km with a 26-tonne payload, the C-130J-30 can reach 4,425 km with a 20-tonne payload.

However, when configured with air-to-air refuelling equipment, when it is designated the KC-390, a Millennium can both dispense fuel and receive it from another KC-390.

As well as operating as a tanker and transport aircraft, the C-390 is capable of performing a wide range of other missions – such as airdropping cargo and troops, medical evacuation, search and rescue, firefighting, and humanitarian missions – and can operate from temporary or unpaved runways.