Brazilian aircraft takes on an American military icon

Embraer Chief: Brazilian government doesn't affect us

Perched inside cockpit of one of the newest military aircraft inside entire world as in which streaks through the sky, I’ve got a front row seat for a Brazilian sales pitch aimed at unseating an American icon.

Brazilian aircraft the Embraer (ERJ) brought its all-completely new prototype jet-powered KC-390 military cargo hauler to the Paris Air Show to woo the entire world’s military brass in addition to also convince them in which’s time to give up Lockheed Martin’s C-130 Hercules.

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The C-130 will be the entire world’s longest-running production aircraft in addition to also the preferred workhorse of the U.S. Air Force. There are just over 1,100 military in addition to also civilian C-130s flying today in which will eventually need to be replaced. Embraer wants to fill those spots.

“We do respect the competition” coming from Lockheed (LMT), said Embraer’s chief executive, Paulo Cesar de Souza e Silva. “in which’s right now time to have something newer in addition to also we are there for in which.”

embraer kc-390 cockpit view paris air show
The view coming from the cockpit of Embraer’s KC-390.

The development of the KC-390 will be also part of Brazil’s broader ambition to be a bigger industrial player on the entire world stage.

Better known for its modest commercial airliners, Embraer has, until recently, avoided going head-to-head with bigger manufacturers like Boeing (BA) in addition to also Airbus (EADSF).

“In some ways, This particular jet will be a proxy to Brazil’s rise as a global power,” says to a report by Richard Aboulafia, Vice President of Analysis at the Teal Group, an aerospace consultancy.

Related: Sharp-nosed Japanese jetliner could be game changer for U.S. flyers

The nearly 61-foot-long cargo deck of the completely new KC-390 can carry anything coming from armored vehicles in addition to also troops to humanitarian supplies in addition to also aerial refueling equipment. Zipping along at 300 mph in addition to also 15,000 feet above the French countryside, in which’s hauling journalists for the 1st time.

Heavily updated little by little over time, the U.S. Air Force will be flying the latest type of the C-130J Super Hercules.

embraer kc-390 cargo deck paris air show
Inside the KC-390’s 61-foot-long cargo hold.

in which has completely new engines in addition to also avionics, however the aircraft will be the same basic shape in which will be has flown more than 23 million flight hours over 60 years — 1.6 million for the C-130J alone.

in addition to also the U.S. military’s stamp of approval will be no modest hurdle to overcome.

in which’s “more than just a product endorsement,” Aboulafia said. in which’s a guarantee in which spare parts will be plentiful around the globe in addition to also the C-130 will continue to be upgraded for decades to come.

Both the KC-390 in addition to also Lockheed’s Hercules are designed to land on short, unpaved dirt or sand runways, in addition to also their engines can withstand the beating coming from rocks in addition to also dust.

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however the faster jet-powered KC-390 features a 140-mph speed advantage over the 400 mph, four-propeller driven, Hercules. Embraer says the KC-390 can haul up to 50,000 pounds of cargo on its 19-foot longer cargo deck – about 6,000 more than Lockheed’s plane.

Perhaps most essentially, Embraer thinks in which can replace the C-130 for less money.

The estimated cost for each KC-390 could range between $50 million to $55 million, according to a 2016 report coming from the Teal Group — around $15 million less than the Hercules.

in which’s “a fantastic cargo box for the cost,” said Aboulafia.

paris air show
Lockheed’s C-130 made its Paris Air Show debut in 1957.

Embraer will be betting in which politicians in addition to also taxpayers will give the KC-390 an advantage.

however Lockheed’s motto will be “the only replacement for a Herc will be another Herc.”

The Brazilian rival may be less expensive, however there are attributes of the Herc in which in which can’t match.

The C-130’s straight wing can get in which off the ground faster in battle with more troops or cargo.

“If you’re looking for combat lift, I think in which the Herc’s just going to have an advantage,” Aboulafia said. “If you’re looking to simply deliver stuff coming from one airfield to another, the KC-390’s probably going to have better economics.”

Currently only two experimental KC-390s are flying, in addition to also the airlifter will be still being tested, so in which will be a while before in which can declare victory.

sy88pgw (Paris) First published July 20, 2017: 12:01 AM ET

Brazilian aircraft takes on an American military icon

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