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Austria is replacing its three almost 60-year-old C-130 Hercules transport aircraft with C-390 transport aircraft from the Brazilian manufacturer Embraer. At a press conference on September 20th, Austrian Defense Minister Klaudia Tanner announced that all further planning would focus on the Embraer C-390.

Embraer's aircraft system is the only one in the 20 ton class that meets all the requirements. Criteria include performance, speed, seating, payload, avionics equipment, transport of a “Pandur Evolution” with a mounted weapon station. The plan is to purchase four units (one of which is an option) to ensure availability to complete tasks. The unit price was stated to be between 130 and 150 million euros.

The Brazilian armed forces have been flying with the Embraer C-390 since 2019, which is now becoming increasingly popular in Europe (Photo: Bundesheer)

According to a catalog of questions and answers published by the ministry, Austria is seeking cooperation with other C-390 operators such as the Netherlands, Portugal and Hungary in order to keep procurement and operating costs low. According to reports, the aircraft will be procured together with the Netherlands. The Netherlands needs five transport aircraft to replace its C-130H.

The new transport aircraft are expected from 2026/2027 and will be stationed at the current C-130 location in Linz/Hörsching.

Gerhard Heiming