AERO INDIA: Embraer detects Indian niche

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sectorxx Greg Waldron Bangalore

AERO INDIA: Embraer detects Indian niche

Embraer plans to roll out the first of India's three EMB-145 airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft this month and is looking for other niche opportunities on the sub-continent.

Embraer defence head Orlando Neto commented on the status of India's EMB-145 at Aero India 2011. "After we deliver the aircraft, the Indian Air Force will undertake systems integration."

Under the $208 million 2008 deal, Embraer built the aircraft based on the airframe of the E-145 regional aircraft. It then installed indigenously designed radar and communications links. Nato expects all three to be delivered by the end of 2011.

"India is definitely a growing business for us," says Neto. "They have objectives and we see ourselves complementing these objectives. Though their procurement process is long, defence procurement everywhere takes time, but this doesn't concern us because we understand it."

Aside from the EMB-145s, Embraer has also delivered to the Indian government five E-145s configured for the VIP role. The aircraft are operated by the Indian Air Force and have enhanced communications features.

In regard to other programmes, Neto says Embraer's EMB-314 Super Tucano is not an entrant in the current IAF basic trainer competition because the Super Tucano is "a war machine."

Nonetheless, the Brazilian government has suggested to India the two countries cooperate on a light turboprop trainer aircraft. These discussions are still preliminary.

Longer term, he sees opportunities in India for C4ISR (command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance) aircraft and executive transports.

In addition, when the Brazilian air force's EMB-145 requires upgrading or replacement after 2020, there could be an opportunity to cooperate with India.