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Embraer Seeks Military Advice From Boeing
Aviation Week's DTI | Michael Mecham | June 27, 2012
This article first appeared in Aerospace Daily & Defense Report.

Boeing and Embraer are stepping beyond the commercial aviation links they have already established into new cooperation to advance the Brazilian manufacturer's military programs.

Announced June 26, the latest agreement focuses on collaboration to aid Embraer's KC-390 medium-lift tanker program, with the two companies saying they will "share some specific technical knowledge and evaluate markets where they may join their sales efforts." They did not provide further details.

While the agreement tightens their cooperation on Brazil's top-tier military aircraft development program, it also should help Boeing's profile on the pending F-2X fighter contract, on which Boeing's F/A-18E/F is competing against France's Dassault Rafale and Sweden's Saab Gripen NG.

The contest was to be decided this month, but senior Brazilian military officials say a decision is unlikely until after this fall's national elections.

All three competitors are pledging technology transfers as part of their bids. France says it will purchase KC-390s, should the Rafale win.

Although there is no requirement for assembly in Brazil, all three competitors assume that should the contract go beyond an initial tranche of 36 aircraft, Embraer will gain such a role.

The KC-390 represents Embraer's best chance to gain major export markets for its military products, even as it selects partners for other programs, notably its campaign for the A-29 Super Tucano light-attack turboprop.

Embraer Defense and Security President Luiz Carlos Aguiar cited Boeing's "extensive experience in military transport and air refueling aircraft" and its "deep knowledge of potential markets for the KC-390" as the reason his division is seeking collaboration. He singled out markets "which were not considered in our original marketing plan."

Boeing Defense, Space & Security President and CEO Dennis Muilenburg says the agreement will "further advance this highly capable and efficient medium-lift aircraft."

Credit: Embraer Concept

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