In a joint press conference held on September 20, 2023, the Minister of Defence of Austria, Claudia Tanner, and the Chief of the Armed Forces’ Armament, Major General Harald Vodosek, announced the decision to replace three Lockheed C-130K Hercules military transport aircraft in the Austrian Air Force with the medium military transport aircraft C-390 Millennium, which is manufactured by the Brazilian company Embraer.
Tanner noted that the precise number of C-390 aircraft that will be acquired has yet to be formally determined, but the country has always talked about four aircraft, and the plan is working in the direction of that number. If all goes according to plan and the deal is signed at the beginning of 2024, the first C-390 aircraft should be delivered to the Austrian Air Force “within two to three years.” All deliveries are anticipated to be finished by the time the last C-130K Hercules aircraft is decommissioned in 2030. The acquisition cost for a single C-390 aircraft is anticipated to range between 130 and 150 million euros.
The three C-130K aircraft were purchased from the Royal Air Force in 2003 and are now 56 years old. They are currently in service with the Austrian Air Force, which has had them since 2003.
After Portugal (which signed a contract in 2019 for the delivery of five aircraft, with the first one being delivered to Portugal in October 2022), Hungary (which signed a contract in 2020 for two aircraft with delivery in 2023-2024), and the Netherlands (which signed an agreement in 2022 for the delivery of five aircraft starting in 2026, although a firm contract has not yet been signed), Austria will thus become the fourth foreign customer for the C-390 (KC-390) aircraft. Minister Tanner said Austria and the Netherlands are discussing establishing a cooperative aircraft acquisition programme.