Hungary orders two KC-390 multi-mission transports

The Hungarian government signed a contract with Embraer on November 17 for the acquisition of two KC-390 Millennium multi-mission transport aircraft, which will be delivered to the nation from 2023.

Under the contract – which was announced with an undisclosed fee – the Hungarian Defence Forces will receive two Embraer KC-390 tactical transports, which will come with an additional air-to-air refuelling (AAR) capability. Additionally, the Brazilian aircraft manufacturer will also provide associated pilot and technician training, as well as other support services, as part of the deal. Hungary has followed Brazil and Portugal in acquiring the KC-390 and will become the third operator of the platform.

Hungarian KC-390 [Embraer Defense and Security]
A digital rendering depicting the Embraer KC-390 Millennium in Hungarian Air Force (HUNAF) colours. Embraer

Gáspár Maróth, the Hungarian government commissioner responsible for defence development, said: “Following the procurement of personnel air transport capabilities in 2018, we will see the arrival of KC-390 aircraft to Hungary in 2023-24… We are acquiring a multi-role transport fleet for the Hungarian Defence Forces to fulfil the widest possible range of tasks within the national framework, in a sovereign way.”

The Hungarian Defence Forces will be the first customer to receive the KC-390 with an included intensive care unit (ICU) configuration – something that will play a key role in humanitarian missions. In Hungarian service, the platform will be used in support of cargo/troop transport, AAR, medical evacuation, humanitarian assistance/disaster response (HA/DR), precision cargo drop, search and rescue and paratrooper operations.

KC-390 [Embraer]
A KC-390 gets airborne for an aerial demonstration at the Farnborough International Airshow (FIA) at Farnborough Airport, Hampshire, in July 2018. Embraer

Jackson Schneider, president and CEO of Embraer Defense and Security, said: “Hungary is the second European nation and NATO operator to select the C-390 Millennium, a highly-capable aircraft that offers excellent productivity through unrivalled combination of speed, payload and rapid reconfigurability for multi-mission operations.”

There are two variants of the Millennium family: the standard C-390 tactical transport and the KC-390 which features a probe and drogue AAR system. With its selection of the latter version, Hungary will be able to use the platform to refuel its Saab JAS-39C/D Gripen multi-role fighters and other similarly configured aircraft in-flight.