Still in the thick of flight tests, Embraer’s KC-390 multi-mission transport aircraft is flying internationally for the first time on a summer tour of Europe and the Middle East, and making its maiden stop at the Farnborough Airshow.

The KC-390, capable of hauling cargo, refueling aircraft, search and rescue operations and medical evacuation, arrived at the show July 7 where it will be on static display. After leaving Sao Paolo, the aircraft made two stops en route to Portugal, where it spent two days. After its Farnborough debut, the aircraft will move on throughout Europe and the Middle East, where Embraer hopes to generate momentum for international sales. Already Embraer has a firm order of 28 aircraft from the Brazilian air force and commitments from Argentina, Chile, Colombia, the Czech Republic and Portugal to buy an additional 32 and hopes to translate information from the visits into additional sales.

“We have a lot of countries which are talking to us, getting information, technical information, performance information,” says Jackson Schneider, the President and CEO of Embraer Defense & Security.

For now, Canada might not be one of them. Embraer put forward a bid for the North American nation’s fixed-wing search and rescue competition. But Jackson is downplaying Embraer’s chance of success.

“It does not represent too much for us,” Jackson says, pointing out that the request is for a “totally different plane” than the larger KC-390. The Brazilian multi-role aircraft is competing against the Finmeccanica-Leonardo’s C-27 and the Airbus C295 turboprops. “It is a different configuration for different purpose. We are not paying too much attention to that to be very, very transparent with you.”

That said, flight tests are going well, Jackson adds. The aircraft has already logged about 360 flight hours. Several weeks ago it began tests of airdrop and the lateral cargo door. Before that, the aircraft had reached a cruising speed of Mach 0.8 and flown at an altitude of 36,000 ft. The aircraft has performed inflight shutdown and restart and auxiliary power unit start tests. It has also tested hose extension on the air refueling system that showcased its stability.

“The results were very positive,” Jackson says, adding that airdrop tests will continue. “[The KC-390 is] flying practically on a daily basis.”  Aerodynamic freezing tests will take place as well. 

The aircraft is expected to be certified in 2017 with deliveries beginning early in 2018. From the start of 2017, the company will begin working on the supply chain to prepare for a transition to the production phase.

Since a delay due to currency fluctuations at the end of 2015, when the KC-390 effort was slowed by one year, the program has been on track. “From that moment onward, we didn’t have any issues regarding payments,” Jackson says. “The government is maintaining the payments that we contracted.”

In addition to the KC-390, Embraer sees continued opportunity to sell the A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircraft, particularly in countries in the Middle East or North Africa that are struggling to counter insurgencies. The aircraft can also be used to with border surveillance. The company is focused on being able to maintain and operate the aircraft at a reasonable cost.