International Aero Engines (IAE) will begin building the first V2500-E5 test engine for Embraer’s KC-390 tanker/transport next week.

The joint venture plans to deliver three flight-test engines to the Brazilian manufacturer this year, and three more in the first quarter of 2014, says IAE President Jon Beatty. The KC-390 is expected to fly in the second half of next year.

The V2500-E5, which is almost identical to the -A5 for the Airbus A320, is scheduled for civil certification in the third quarter of 2014. Production deliveries are to begin late in 2015 and the airlifter is expected to enter service with the Brazilian air force early in 2016.

Production of the V2500 for airline customers is planned to wind down as output of Pratt & Whitney’s PW1100G geared turbofan ramps up, but the KC-390 program is projected to keep the engine in production through 2025, Beatty says. Embraer already has letters of intent for 60 aircraft from six customers, and sees a market for almost 730 new tanker/transports over 10 years.

The -E5’s “cases-in” turbomachinery is identical to that of the -A5 Select 1 engine, he says, but the external accessories are different. IAE is providing the complete propulsion system, including nacelle, which is being produced by Bombardier’s Shorts division and is similar to the UTC Aerospace Systems nacelle for the A320. As supplied for the KC-390, the V2500-E5 will produce roughly 31,330 lb. thrust. The -A5 is certified to 33,000 lb. thrust on the A321, “so we have almost 10% growth inherent if required,” Beatty says.

IAE has delivered more than 5,700 engines and has another 1,600 in backlog. There is an opportunity to sell another 700 engines for the “classic” A320s that have still to be delivered before the aircraft is phased out of production in favor of the A320NEO.

Production is increasing to more than 500 engines this year, up from more than 470 in 2012, and will increase again to more than 530 in 2014 before beginning to wind down as PW1100G production ramps up at Pratt & Whitney. “We have firm orders through 2018,” Beatty says.

Pratt owns 66% of IAE after buying out Rolls-Royce’s share in 2010. Since November, “a single face to the customer” has been selling both the V2500 for the A320 and PW1100G for the A320NEO families. “We wanted the same advantage CFM has for Leap, and of 13 [PW1100G] customers on the NEO, nine are existing V2500 customers,” Beatty says.