Embraer, Boeing to Partner on KC-390 Military Transport Jet

This new partnership deal will employ Boeing's technical know-how and market analysis to help spur development of Embraer's military jet.

Brazil's leading planemaker Embraer (IW 1000/644) and the U.S. behemoth Boeing (IW 500/15) on Tuesday agreed to share technical know-how and market analysis to spur development of Embraer's KC-390 military aircraft.

Luiz Carlos Aguiar, chief executive officer of Embraer's defense and security unit, and Dennis Muilemburg, CEO of Boeing Defense, Space and Security, signed a deal for collaboration on Brazil's medium-lift military transport aircraft.

Aguiar said Embraer hopes to capitalize on Boeing's vast knowledge of the global military transport market, including its experience in developing the Boeing C-17.

"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 and joint analysis of market prospects for the KC-390.

"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 follow-up 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 currently 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.

Boeing has had a presence in this country for 80 years and has sold commercial planes to Brazilian airlines since 1960.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2012   

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