(AFP) – Jun 26, 2012
SAO PAULO — Brazil's leading planemaker Embraer and the US giant Boeing Tuesday agreed to share technical know-how and market analysis to spur development of the Brazilian firm's KC-390 military aircraft.
Luiz Carlos Aguiar, chief executive officer of Embraer's defense and security unit, and Dennis Muilenburg, CEO of Boeing Defense, Space and Security, signed a deal to collaborate on Brazil's medium-lift military transport aircraft.
Embraer hopes to capitalize on Boeing's vast knowledge of the global military transport market, including its experience in developing the Boeing C-17, Aguiar said.
"Boeing has extensive experience in military transport and air refueling aircraft, as well as deep knowledge of potential markets for the KC-390," he told a press conference.
Muilenburg said the C-17, a large military transport aircraft used by air forces of several countries, and the KC-390 were "a natural fit."
"Our goal is to look for new opportunities to expand the market for the KC-390 and make it as successful globally as the C-17 has been," he added.
The collaboration between two of the world's leading aviation firms will take the form of technical information sharing.
"It will be a partnership of equals that does not involve remuneration, with both sides putting in resources," Aguiar said.
"This collaboration matches Boeing's proven excellence in military transport with Embraer's KC-390 accomplishments to further advance this highly capable and efficient medium-lift aircraft," Muilenburg said.
Tuesday's agreement is a followup to a partnership deal the two companies signed in April for technology sharing on aircraft efficiency and manufacturing, as well as further research on sustainable biofuels.
Boeing and Embraer are also collaborating to develop aviation biofuels, including sugar cane-based biofuels.
In April 2009, Embraer secured an order from the Brazilian Air Force to supply 23 KC-390 planes over seven years for a contract worth $1.3 billion.
The new twin-turbofan-powered KC-390, which can be refueled in flight and will be used for in-flight refueling of other aircraft as well as for search and rescue missions, is expected to fly in 2014 and enter service by the end of 2015.
The plane, the biggest to be built by the Brazilian aerospace industry, is expected to carry 84 military personnel and the cargo cabin will be configured for ferrying the wounded or sick, on medical evacuation missions.
Brazil, Latin America's dominant power and now the world's sixth largest economy, is also expected to decide soon on a contract for 36 next-generation fighter jets for its air force valued at between $4 billion and $7 billion.
Boeing's F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter jet is competing against the Rafale fighter, made by French firm Dassault Aviation, and Swedish manufacturer Saab's Gripen for the contract.
Brazil is keen to boost its domestic arms industry and now insists on technology transfer in all its defense agreements.
Washington meanwhile has said it will reopen bidding after canceling a contract with Embraer for 20 AT-29 Super Tucano light aircraft for the Afghan army.
Embraer and its US partner Sierra Nevada were awarded the contract in December, but the US Air Force called off the deal in February after a legal challenge from rival Hawker Beechcraft Corp.
Boeing has had a presence in this country for 80 years and has sold commercial planes to Brazilian airlines since 1960.
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