The Embraer-made C-390 Millennium, in Brazilian Air Force livery, seen at the 2023 Paris Air Show. (Aaron Mehta/Breaking Defense)

BELFAST — A first Dutch Embraer C-390 Millennium aircraft delivery won’t happen until 2027, over a year late, but the Ministry of Defence of The Netherlands expects overall lower acquisition costs due to the plan to jointly purchase a fleet of transport planes with Austria, according to a senior Dutch defense official.

In a letter (“D-letter”) to Parliament on Monday detailing the latest developments of the Netherlands replacement tactical air transport capability program, Dutch State Secretary of Defence Christophe Van der Maat said that an original 2026 delivery timeline “turned out not to be feasible due to cooperation with Austria and negotiations with the manufacturer,” according to an online translation.

Instead, Brazil’s Embraer will now deliver a first Dutch aircraft “by the end of 2027,” with the remaining four on order to be received before the start of 2030. Van der Maat also revealed that the Dutch program alone is valued at €1.7 billion ($1.8 billion). The new aircraft are set to replace outgoing C-130H Hercules airlifters.

“The replacement of the tactical air fleet was initially scheduled between 2031 and 2033,” added the letter. “The approaching end of the operational and technical life combined with frequent use of the aircraft due to global geopolitical developments has led the Defense Department to decide to replace this capability early.”

The Dutch aircraft will be stationed at Eindhoven Air Base and Initial Operating Capability (three aircraft available for deployment) is targeted in 2028, two years ahead of Full Operational Capability (all five aircraft), noted the letter.

Austria initially asked the Netherlands could it join the C-390 program in 2023, leading the two European nations to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in April 2024 and committing to a combined total of nine aircraft. Vienna is replacing its own fleet of C-130K’s with the new airframes.

“Austria has conformed to the established configuration of the aircraft and to the Dutch contract conditions,” wrote Van der Maat. “With this cooperation, Embraer achieves economies of scale in production, which translates into a lower price of the aircraft.”

The Austrian Ministry of Defence website states that based on “successful negotiations” a first C-390 delivery is “possible” between 2026 and 2027 and adds that cost-per-unit of the new aircraft sits between €130 million ($140 million) to €150 million ($161 million).

In addition to the Austrian and Dutch orders, Embrarer has secured a variety of other deals across Europe, including for Hungary and Portugal. Breaking Defense previously reported negotiations between the manufacturer and the Czech Republic over the purchase of two aircraft commenced in October 2023.

Van der Maat’s letter also mentioned that Finland, Greece and Sweden have all expressed “serious interest” in the aircraft.

The military transporter can carry payload in excess of 26 tons, fly up to 470 knots and specializes in a variety of missions like cargo drops, troop transport, medical evacuation, search and rescue, firefighting, and humanitarian missions, according to Embraer.

In December 2023, South Korea became the Asia-Pacific’s C-390 launch customer, based on the platform’s selection for the country’s Large Transport Aircraft program. Embraer has also selected local C-390 supply chain partners in India, in a bid to win a contract for the nation’s Medium Transport Aircraft program.

Further afield, the manufacturer holds a MoU with SAMI, Saudi Arabia’s defense giant, based around development of a final assembly line and setting up of a regional mainentance, repair and overhaul (MRO) center, subject to selection of the C-390 by Riyadh.

As of October 2023, the Brazilian Air Force’s C-390 fleet had flown 10,000 flight hours, since the plane entered service in 2019, according to the manufacturer.

The Austrian MoD had not responded to a request for comment at the time of publication.