Boeing, Embraer clinch new partnership

July 10, 2012 at 12:32 PM
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SAO PAULO, July 10 (UPI) -- The Boeing Co.'s footprint in Brazil is set to increase with the announcement of yet another partnership between the U.S. aviation and defense manufacturer and Brazilian counterpart Embraer, in some ways rivals in the marketplace.

Both sides revealed the new partnership at the Farnborough Airshow at Farnborough, England, currently the scene of aggressive marketing by global defense sellers. Global defense firms are faced with spending cuts after the U.S.-led drawdown in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Despite economic gloom across Europe, the Farnborough show became the scene where defense industry players from the emerging markets, such as Brazil's Embraer, vied for attention of buyers from Asia and the Middle East, Africa and Latin America.

Embraer is pursuing an understated strategy of giving competitors jobs in its ambitious aviation and defense program. Both sides know the score and are not ruling out partners becoming major challengers to market shares in the new future.

Embraer and Boeing jointly announced an agreement that will further enhance their collaboration and bring additional capabilities to Embraer's A-29 Super Tucano through new weapons integration to meet future customer needs.

The Super Tucano has emerged as a highly competitive and low-cost attack aircraft suitable for combat scenarios from air-to-ground battles in a wider conflict to anti-insurgency operations and anti-smuggling and anti-immigration rackets -- as rife in Africa and Asia as in South America.

The new weapons integration capacity enhances the solution presented to the U.S. Air Force Light Air Support program by not only meeting program requirements, but exceeding them in ways that are important to the customer.

Embraer is aiming to get into the U.S. defense aviation market and was thwarted in the attempt last year after USAF canceled an order when challenged in court by the Brazilian manufacturer's U.S. rival Hawker Beechcraft.

Embraer President Luiz Carlos Aguiar said the Super Tucano's "new capability will take advantage of the versatility of the Super Tucano and will benefit our campaign in the United States."

"With more than eight years in service and more than 160 aircraft delivered, the Super Tucano is a proven platform. The aircraft's performance, operational effectiveness and costs to operate and maintain are well defined and documented," he said.

The announcement followed the April signing of a broad cooperation agreement between Boeing and Embraer that established an important relationship. The companies have agreed to cooperate in ways that enhance aircraft efficiency and safety, research and technology and sustainable aviation biofuels to create value for both companies and their customers.

"This agreement enables integration of Boeing products on a highly affordable turboprop aircraft that offers unique close air support capabilities to customers worldwide," said Dennis Muilenburg, president and chief executive officer of Boeing Defense, Space and Security.

"Boeing direct attack weapons are combat-proven and in inventory with the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy, and 27 international military customers."

On June 26, Boeing and Embraer announced a collaboration on the KC-390 program to share some specific technical knowledge and evaluate markets where they may join efforts for medium-lift military transport opportunities.

To date, the Super Tucano fleet has logged more than 157,000 flight hours, including 23,000 combat hours, with no combat losses. The aircraft also is certified for more than 130 munitions configurations. It has been selected by 10 customers around the world.

Boeing has headquarters in Chicago. Embraer's headquarters are located in Sao Jose dos Campos, Sao Paulo, Brazil.

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