L3Harris Technologies and Embraer have announced a partnership to develop an “agile tanker” – a tactical aerial refuelling option for the US Air Force.

The companies signed an agreement to expand the capabilities of Embraer’s KC-390 Millennium tactical tanker aircraft.

Enhancements include the addition of advanced boom operations and mission systems to support agile basing and sustainment for operations in contested areas.

‘Cost-effective, fast-to-field solution’

“US Air Force strategic planners have stated agile combat employment will require refuelling platforms optimised to support a disaggregated approach to air dominance in contested logistics environments,” said Christopher Kubasik, chair and CEO, L3Harris.

“Collaborating with Embraer to develop and integrate new capabilities to the multi-mission KC-390 provides a cost-effective, fast-to-field solution that embodies our trusted disruptor approach.”

Aircraft enhancements will complement the tanker’s existing capabilities, which already include the ability to refuel aircraft with a variable speed drogue, receive fuel, and to take off and land from short and improvised runways, allowing for greater mission area coverage.

Expanding KC-390’s reach

“We continue seeking meaningful and strategic partnerships that generate new developments and expand the KC-390 Millennium’s market reach,” said Francisco Gomes Neto, president and CEO of Embraer.

“Our aircraft is capturing the attention of Air Forces around the world, and we’re thrilled by this opportunity to combine Embraer’s state-of-the-art platform and systems with L3Harris’ mission-driven solutions to deliver on the US Air Force’s operational imperatives.”
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