Decision on KC-390 engines still pending

Washington DC
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Embraer Defence and Security is sticking to its plan to select all critical suppliers for the KC-390 by June, but this is not a hard deadline, a top company executive says.

Decisions on suppliers for such critical pieces as the engines, avionics and most of the structure still have not been made only two months before Embraer is scheduled to enter a joint definition phase.

The engines, in particular, are a sensitive topic and have required "a higher degree of discussion with the Brazilian air force", says Orlando Neto, executive vice-president at Embraer Defence and Security.

In the running are two companies with 27,000-30,000lb thrust (120-133kN) turbofans - the CFM International CFM-56 and International Aero Engines V2500.

Although Embraer still wants to complete discussions by the end of June, the overall schedule can accommodate a brief delay for some of the supplier decisions, Neto says.

"There is room for some accommodation," he says, referencing a one-month slip. "That's do-able."

So far, Embraer has selected four partners - for the aircraft's cargo handling system, landing gear, doors, spoilers and a section of the rear fuselage.

The twinjet was launched in 2009 with a $1.3 billion, five-year development contract to replace the Brazilian air force's Lockheed Martin C-130s.