SINGAPORE — Embraer moved closer to another contract for its KC-390 multimission transport aircraft on Tuesday, signing a letter of intent with aviation services company SkyTech for up to six aircraft, the company announced.
Details on the collaboration remain somewhat opaque. According to an Embraer news release, the KC-390s would be dedicated to “multiple defense projects” conducted by SkyTech, which currently owns a fleet of Airbus A320s, A330s and A340s for military and cargo transport as well as other services.
Embraer declined to comment further on the types of missions for which SkyTech plans to use the KC-390, but the aircraft could help facilitate many of the roles listed on the latter company’s website, including aerial refueling and medical evacuation.
“We have been following the KC-390 program since its inception and believe that it will be a game-changer in the medium-sized airlift category as well as a multi-role platform,” Paulo Mirpuri, president of SkyTech, said in the release.
The company is a joint venture of HiFly — a Portuguese company that specializes in defense aviation services — and Adagold Aviation of Australia.
The KC-390 is capable of accomplishing a wide variety of missions, including search and rescue, aerial firefighting or supporting paratroopers.
The deal with SkyTech is the second international KC-390 deal, with Portugal as its first foreign customer with an order of five planes. The Brazilian military has put 28 production aircraft and two prototypes under order. It can transport up to 26 metric tons of cargo at a maximum speed of 470 knots and take off and land on unimproved runways.
Beyond the potential KC-390 deal, the companies have agreed “to jointly explore new business opportunities in training and services,” with the KC-390 as the first of “a wide variety of platforms that will fulfill various niche rolls and projects that SkyTech is undertaking worldwide” — a potential indication that SkyTech could seek to procure other Embraer products in the realm of military airlift or intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.
“Embraer is keen to have SkyTech as a strategic partner for some of our own planned projects, where we see them adding value and enhancements by providing various ongoing solutions to our own defense customer base,” said Jackson Schneider, president and CEO of Embraer Defense & Security.
Valerie Insinna is Defense News' air warfare reporter. She previously worked the Navy/congressional beats for Defense Daily, which followed almost three years as a staff writer for National Defense Magazine. Prior to that, she worked as an editorial assistant for the Tokyo Shimbun’s Washington bureau.