Embraer and L3 Harris Technologies have formed a partnership to develop an “agile tanker” tactical aerial refueling option designed to meet U.S. Air Force operational requirements. The agreement signed by the companies covers expanding the capabilities of Embraer’s KC-390 Millennium multi-mission aircraft to accomplish that goal. Upgrades are expected to include an advanced boom and open mission systems “to support agile basing and sustainment for operations in contested areas, and resilient communications supporting JADC2 [Joint All Domain Command and Control] requirements.”
“U.S. Air Force strategic planners have stated agile combat employment will require refueling platforms optimized to support a disaggregated approach to air dominance in contested logistics environments,” said L3Harris Chair and CEO Christopher Kubasik. “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.”
Brazil-based Embraer and L3 Harris, which is headquartered in Florida, stated that they are looking at Agile Tanker program production with final assembly in the U.S. to satisfy Buy American Act requirements. Aircraft “modernization and missionization” would be completed at L3Harris’ aircraft modification center in Waco, Texas. As previously reported by AVweb, Embraer delivered the first KC-390 Millennium in September 2019.