Embraer plans military transport jet

July 26, 2011 at 6:12 PM
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RIO DE JANEIRO, July 26 (UPI) -- Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer plans to have its first major military cargo aircraft airborne by 2015, competing in markets currently dominated by U.S., European and Russian manufacturers.

The KC-390 transport aircraft will be fitted with engines supplied by International Aero Engines, a consortium that includes Rolls-Royce, United Technologies unit Pratt and Whitney and the Japanese Aero Engine Corp. Several other key aerospace industry manufactures will be involved with supplying components.

The choice of the engine was seen by aviation analysts as a measured Embraer response to the challenge of increasing the new aircraft's marketability in a competitive market.

Embraer is better known as a manufacturer of executive jets than transport aircraft and still is developing expertise and capacity in other aircraft sizes. That shortcoming has inhibited Brazil's ambitious pitch to become a lead manufacturer in a competitive field dominated by European, North American and Russian aircraft makers.

There are also plans afoot by Embraer to enter the market for large passenger aircraft and the planned manufacture of the KC-390 transport is seen as a significant step toward developing the capability to make large passenger jets.

Embraer said it was moving ahead on schedule with its overall aircraft manufacturing program.

The company said it expects to start receiving deliveries of the V2500-E5 engine in 2013 in time for the aircraft to be ready for flight in 2015.

Embraer has selected several other key partners to supply components for the KC-390.

BAE Systems will provide hardware, embedded software, system design and integration support of the flight control electronics. The system will be developed in Rochester, England, and Johnson City, N.Y.

The Goodrich Corp. will provide the electro-hydrostatic actuators, electro-backup hydrostatic actuators, actuator electronics and electrical controls for the primary flight control system of the KC-390.

Embraer expects to market the aircraft at $80 million-$100 million.

The company hopes to raise defense manufacturing share in its total manufacturing to about 20 percent with delivery of the KC-390 transport plane.

Embraer has seen its market grow in recent years as it embarks on an aggressive marketing campaign worldwide. Latin American demand for defense aviation is set to grow amid increasing awareness of regional security needs.

Brazil has increased defense spending as part of a comprehensive plan to boost defenses around offshore hydrocarbon wells and to combat drug smuggling and human trafficking along its coastal waters and the Amazonian borders with neighboring countries.

Bounded by the Atlantic Ocean on the east, Brazil faces the challenge of securing a coastline of more than 4,655 miles and borders with Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname and Uruguay as well as the French overseas department of French Guiana.

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