KC-390 Airlifter (Embraer)
PARIS — Embraer has deepened its cooperation with Boeing in a deal giving the US aerospace giant the lead for selling the Brazilian plane-maker’s KC-390 airlifter in certain parts of the world, including the US.
On Tuesday, the two sides announced that they would extend a general cooperation pact agreed to last year to a firm commitment for Boeing to market the yet-to-fly, jet-powered airlifter in the US, the UK and certain, but unspecified, Middle Eastern countries.
The US company, which builds the C-17 strategic airlifter, is also providing technical assistance to the Embraer-led consortium on the KC-390 aircraft.
Neither Britain or the US has any requirement, or money, for a new airlifter. But Boeing defense vice president for business development, Chris Raymond, said that US Air Mobility Command will at some stage need to look at its next-generation airlift requirement.
The KC-390 passed a critical design review last month and is on course to fly for the first time in late 2014.
Brazil is the main customer for the aircraft, which is aimed at taking on Lockheed Martin’s C-130 for dominance in the tactical airlift market.
Embraer defense business boss, Luiz Carlos Aguiar, said the KC-390 would be pitched toward an addressable market for 700 aircraft.
Raymond said the growing ties with Embraer were unrelated to Boeing’s effort to sell the F/A-18 Super Hornet to the Brazilian Air Force in a competition stalled for economic reasons. The Saab Gripen and Dassault Aviation Rafale are competitors. ■
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