Embraer Defense and Security signed contracts for the KC-390 tanker-transport program with two industrial partners who will supply airframe structures.
Brazilian Air Force
The Brazilian Air Force (FAB) made two defense procurement decisions, but deferred the long-pending choice of a new combat aircraft. It bought an unspecified number of Hermes 450 UAV systems from the Brazilian subsidiary of Elbit Systems. The Israeli company noted that it has now sold UAVs to more than 20 countries and that the Hermes 450 has logged more than 200,000 operational flight hours.
In the last few weeks the Embraer KC-390 jet tanker/transport program has gained four international partners, who have expressed their intentions to purchase the aircraft and to participate in its development and manufacture. Following the announcement at Farnborough in July that the Brazilian air force would initially acquire 28 KC-390s, the latest announcements raise prospective sales to 54.
During the Farnborough airshow in late July, the Brazilian air force announced its intention to acquire 28 Embraer KC-390 twinjet tanker/transports. First flight is expected in 2014, with service entry planned before the end of 2015.
Embraer expects its revenues from the defense sector to grow by almost a third this year, reaching approximately $650 million compared with $500 million in 2009. Its military backlog going into 2010 stood at $3.2 billion and could increase if Indonesia’s defense minister signs off on a deal for eight EMB 314 Super Tucano trainer/light attack aircraft.
Brazil’s purchase of 36 new fighters has pitted the air force’s preference for the Saab Gripen, backed by a 10-month technical report, against a presidential preference for the Dassault Rafale as part of a “strategic alliance” with France. Second in the air force’s ranking was the Boeing F-18 Super Hornet. According to the newspaper Folha de São Paulo, France reduced the cost of the Rafale package from $12.2 billion to $8.2 billion.
A top-level handshake in Brazil earlier this month does not necessarily mean the end of that country’s long quest to select a new fighter. Presidents Lula and Sarkozy proclaimed a strategic aerospace partnership after the French leader made a two-day state visit to Brazil.
While much of the world struggles in the grip of a financial crisis, the economies in Latin America–and Brazil in particular–appear stable and even growing.
Embraer has expanded on its North American Phenom 100 support system, in service since last December. The Customer Support Contact Center, located at Embraer’s headquarters in São José dos Campos, Brazil, now offers operational, technical and maintenance support for all of Embraer’s executive jets.