KC-390 Key to Long-Term V2500 Engine Production

by Carter Palmer, Power Systems Specialist, Forecast International.

IAE V2500 Gas Turbine
IAE V2500 Gas Turbine

Along with the orders for new aircraft that poured in at last month’s Farnborough Air Show, selections were also made, where available, for the engines that will power them. Both the new and the old had a place in the sun, a prime example being the A320 series of aircraft. The much-publicized A320neo (New Engine Option) line of aircraft accrued many orders, as did the A320ceo (Current Engine Option).

Despite the orders, the A320neo will eventually replace the standard A320, leaving the CEO engines to wither on the vine. One engine, however, will not be completely cast aside by the new LEAP and Pure Power generation of aviation engines. The International Aero Engines V2500, an option on the A320ceo, will remain viable due to a South American platform that will soon enter production. Although the V2500 will not reach its former production figures, production will remain steady for years to come.

With over 6,800 units produced, the V2500 has an interesting history that helps explain its success. The engine’s manufacturer, International Aero Engines, is a consortium originally made up of some of the aviation turbine industry’s biggest global players. Rolls-Royce, Pratt & Whitney, MTU and Japanese Aero Engines all had a part to play in the design of the V2500. From the high-pressure turbine to the forward fan case, each company was tasked with designing an integral piece of the engine. The engine came together and was FAA certified in June 1988. The Airbus A320 series of aircraft, the McDonnell Douglas MD-90-30 and a new Brazilian design employ the engine.

Embraer KC-390
Embraer KC-390

The unlikely savior of the V2500 is a military aircraft that is turning heads in the aviation world. As a direct competitor to the venerable C-130, Embraer’s KC-390 – which recently debuted at Farnborough – is piquing the interest of potential customers. This transport/tanker is a unique specimen; powered by two V2500s, it has impressive performance figures. The aircraft has a maximum cruising speed of Mach 0.8 and a maximum payload capacity of 26 metric tons. The KC-390 has a range of 1,380 nautical miles with a 23,000-kilogram payload, while its ferry range is 3,350 nm. Although the Brazilian platform has advantages over its C-130 rival, breaking into the medium transport market will be tough. V2500 engine production will be wholly dependent on the KC-390 after the A320ceo line of aircraft give way to the NEO follow-ons.

V2500 production is forecast to drop off steadily as A320neo engines supplant A320ceo powerplants, and by 2019, production for the A320ceo will cease. The KC-390 will keep the production lines rolling, albeit at a much reduced rate. From 2020 to 2025, Forecast International expects that an annual average of 23 V2500-E5s will be produced for the KC-390 program. The program’s sole firm order comes from its home country of Brazil, which has committed to buying 28 of the aircraft. Five other countries have signed letters of intent, and as the KC-390 continues to travel the aviation circuit, new orders look favorable – and the V2500 appears set to live on in an unlikely military role.


Forecast International produces two distinct Power Systems products. The Aviation Gas Turbine Forecast presents the 10-year outlook for aviation turbofan, turboprop and turboshaft engines and more. The Industrial & Marine Turbine Forecast covers the markets for gas and steam turbines, mechanical drive engines, and marine power, among others.Forecast FI Logo

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