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7 Latin American Nations Launch Basic Trainer Development

Apr. 10, 2013 - 06:42AM   |  
By ANDREW CHUTER   |   Comments
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RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil — A new basic trainer development has been launched by seven Latin American nations with the aim of having the first aircraft flying as early as 2015.

The Argentine and Brazilian defense ministers used the LAAD defense and security show, which opened here Tuesday, to announce they are pooling resources to develop the Unasur-7 basic trainer.

Chile, Columbia, Ecuador, Uruguay and Venezuela are also involved in the scheme to find a replacement for aging trainer fleets around the region.

Details about who will lead the design and build effort are scarce, but analysts here say it is unlikely to be Embraer.

Brazil, Columbia, Argentina and Chile are already partners in an Embraer-led program to build the KC-390 airlifter twin jet. Other partners in the twin-jet rival to the Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules include the Czech Republic and Portugal.

Embraer executives at LAAD said the development program was on track for a first flight next year following the recent passing of a critical design review.

The executives said they expected to achieve their first firm order next year from the 60 commitments they have from partner nations — the bulk of which come from Brazil.

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