In a potential boost to the Indian Air Force’s (IAF) transport capabilities, Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer has revealed it is “in talks” with Indian authorities with its Embraer C-390 Millennium offering. The aircraft is a medium-size, twin-engine, jet-powered military transport aircraft which, if inducted will give the IAF significant heavy lift capabilities reports Financial Express.

Security Imperatives

As India is already being described as regional power with strategic interests beyond its shores and having ambitious plans to upgrade its expeditionary capabilities, the Indian government has decided to equip the IAF with latest and most capable airlift capabilities. After the arrival of ten C-17 Globemaster aircraft, the government has cleared four more, while the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) of the Ministry of Defence has accepted the IAF proposal to import 16 Chinook heavy airlift helicopters.

The heavy lift aircraft extends the strategic reach of a country. Since India has emerged as an economic powerhouse the resultant competition poses huge challenges for India’s military to protect its national interests. Since India has over 4000 kms contentious boundary with China and borders with Pakistan remain hot round the year, the army and air force needs continuous supplies of rations and equipment for the troops deployed on the high mountains. This requires huge transport network and to achieve those aims, Indian Government in recent years have taken requisite measures. Since the bulk of large portion of Indian military transport is on the verge of the retirement, India needed immediate acquisitions.

About Embraer C-390

The C-390 is a medium-weight, multi-mission tactical aircraft designed and developed by Embraer, an aerospace company based in Brazil. It is the largest and most complicated aircraft ever built by Embraer.

The C-390 can carry out a range of missions, including humanitarian support, medical evacuation (MEDEVAC), search and rescue, and aerial refuelling. Furthermore, it can be deployed to transport and launch cargo and troops and perform paratroopers operations.

C-390 Design And Features

The twin-turbofan-powered C-390 aircraft is designed to be reconfigured in less than three hours to support different missions. It can be refuelled in flight and can be used for in-flight or on-ground refuelling of other aircraft. The 20t jet is technically advanced and has fly-by-wire technology, which optimises mission results to reduce pilot workload. It also helps increase the safety and capability for operating on short and rustic runways reports air-force technology.

The military aircraft has a cargo bay equipped with an aft ramp similar to Hercules aircraft and is capable of transporting a variety of cargo (weighing up to 26t), including armoured vehicles.

It is outfitted with state-of-the-art loading and unloading systems for handling cargo.

The C-390 utilises computed air release point (CARP) technology integrated with fly-by-wire system to provide greater accuracy during air dropping, thereby reducing crew workload. The twin-engine jet-powered Embraer C-390 integrates the technological solutions developed for Embraer 190 commercial aircraft.

It can carry 84 military personnel and the cargo cabin can be configured for transporting the wounded or sick, on MEDEVAC missions.

The aircraft weighs approximately 23,600kg and its maximum take-off weight is 74,400kg.


C-390’ cockpit is equipped with Collins Aerospace’s Pro Line Fusion avionics system which features five 15in, night vision imaging system (NVIS) compatible, high-resolution LCD displays. The advanced human machine interface has an intuitive design with simplified access to functions such as flight planning, hazard avoidance, and aircraft performance monitoring.

The advanced avionics system enables enhanced situational awareness, due to its synthetic vision capabilities and graphical flight planning. The Pro Line Fusion’s open architecture enables the integration of new technologies to meet changing operational requirements.

The system provides operational efficiencies through features such as automated database management, crew alerting system integrated with procedural checklists, and data link-enabled traffic and graphical weather information systems.


The self-protection suite (SPS) of the tactical aircraft includes detection and countermeasures such as radar warning receiver (RWR), missile approach warning system (MAWS), laser warning system (LWS), enhanced vision system (EVS), and directional infrared counter measures (DIRCM). The C-390 features ballistic armour protection against 7.62mm bullets. It is also equipped with chaff and flare systems to distract and counter incoming missile threats.

Engines And Performance

The aircraft’s propulsion system includes two International Aero Engines’ (IAE) V2500-E5 engines. The 2,400kg engine provides an upward thrust of approximately 31,330lb (138kN) and a fully electronic aircraft-to-engine interface.

The C-390 can fly at a maximum altitude of 10,973m. Its maximum speed is 987.8km/h. The normal and ferry range of the aircraft are 2,590 km and 6,130 km respectively.