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Embraer has cast aside plans for an immediate expansion of the C-390 military transport aircraft. Their focus remains on maximizing the capabilities of the current design to meet operational needs. This decision comes as Embraer actively pitches the C-390 to the Indian Air Force (IAF) for their medium transport aircraft requirement.

The C-390 boasts a 26-tonne concentrated load capacity and a 23-tonne distributed load capacity, along with impressive airdrop performance. These specifications fall squarely within the IAF’s 18-30 tonne requisition. To further solidify their bid, Embraer has partnered with Mahindra in India for potential local production of the C-390.

However, the IAF’s needs might evolve. While the C-390 fulfils their current requirements, a desire for a larger cargo capacity could lead them elsewhere. Embraer acknowledges this possibility and may reconsider its stance if the IAF prioritizes a bigger aircraft.

During the C-390’s development, Embraer contemplated a stretched variant for civilian cargo applications. However, these plans have been placed on hold due to the lack of such demands from the market. This hypothetical freighter was to feature fuselage extensions before and behind the central section, not only increasing capacity but also potentially allowing for a side cargo door.

The Indian Air Force has yet to solidify their specific cargo capacity needs. This factor, along with their desire to replace their ageing IL-76 fleet, will significantly influence their decision. Airbus’s A400M, with its 37-tonne cargo capacity, could emerge as a frontrunner if the IAF prioritizes sheer volume.

While they haven’t completely ruled out a stretched version, their focus remains on securing the IAF contract. The IAF’s final choice hinges on their evolving needs and their desire to potentially partner with an Indian manufacturer like Mahindra.

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