Embraer AEW&C makes global debut
On Sunday night a Brazilian air force Embraer EMB-145 ANEW&C landed at the Dubai airshow to make the type’s first appearance outside South America, at the start of Operação Guardião–a demonstration tour that will also take the aircraft to December’s LIMA show in Malaysia. The aircraft flew from Brazil with six stops along the way. It is carrying all the spares needed for this extended deployment, and is accompanied by a sizable contingent from the Brazilian operating unit 2/6 GAv, led by the squadron commander Lt. Col. Barbacovi. Immediately after the show the aircraft will be demonstrated to the United Arab Emirates air force, which is assessing various surveillance options.
Based on the ERJ-145 regional jet, the ANEW&C version carries an Ericsson Erieye radar. There are also signals intelligence and maritime patrol configurations based on the common 145 platform. The EMB-145 ISR (intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance) variants have generated considerable interest among the world’s air forces. Embraer’s director of business development defense product, Eduardo Munhos, told Aviation International News that Oman is also a promising prospect in the region. Embraer is leading the proposal to sell EMB-145 ISR aircraft to Malaysia. India is another potential customer for an ANEW EMB-145, but would probably use an indigenous radar.
In August 2004 the EMB-145 was selected as the platform for the Lockheed Martin-led Aerial Common Sensor (ACS) program for the U.S. Army, but recent changes to the army’s payload requirements have thrown the platform question into some doubt. Embraer is confident that it can remain as the airframe supplier through systems shrinkage. The ACS payload could also be exported to the much larger EMB-190.
Embraer engineers are already working on special mission 170s and 190s in a company-funded program. An ACS platform decision is expected some time in December.
The manufacturer has a nonexclusive agreement with Ericsson over the Erieye radar, and finds itself now facing competition from the Saab 2000 twin turboprop. The company points to its proven reliability with a large fleet of regional jets, and to an ANEW product that is already in squadron service.