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Austrian Delegation Explores Potential KC-390 Order in Talks with Embraer in Brazil

“Austrian Air Force Explores KC-390 Millennium Airlifter as Replacement for C-130K Hercules”

Negotiations between the Austrian government and Embraer progress as the Austrian Air Force seeks to acquire up to five versatile aircraft to replace its aging C-130K Hercules fleet, Reuters reports. Currently attending LAAD, the largest defense and security event in Latin America, an Austrian delegation engages in discussions with Embraer regarding a potential agreement.

In early April, the Austrian Defense Ministry initiated an invitation for interested parties to propose an aircraft with a 20-ton carrying capacity and aerial refueling capabilities, as mentioned by Michael Bauer, an Austrian Defense Ministry spokesman, on Twitter.

The Austrian Air Force plans to order approximately four to five aircraft, emphasizing that the C-130J, an upgraded variant of Lockheed Martin’s aircraft, and the KC-390 Millennium from Embraer are the most suitable options to meet their operational requirements.

Prior to Bauer’s statement, Austrian government representatives participated in the inaugural meeting of C-390 operators in Portugal, underscoring their interest in the Brazilian aircraft.

A reliable source mentioned to Reuters that the KC-390 is currently under analysis, expressing mutual interest in reaching an agreement. The expected timeframe for finalizing the agreement is the first half of 2024.

As a NATO member, Austria can benefit from the collective experience of other European operators, including Portugal, Hungary, and the Netherlands, who have already adopted the KC-390 since its induction into service in 2019. This European alliance highlights the aircraft’s superior performance compared to the C-130J.

Considering the Hercules’ longstanding service history, Lockheed Martin’s aircraft has demonstrated its capability and versatility, which could influence Austria’s decision. Moreover, the involvement of the US government in arms agreements holds significance, particularly as Austria contemplates the adoption of the fifth-generation F-35 fighter manufactured by Lockheed Martin.

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