Embraer wants to play a part in a future US airborne intelligence-gathering requirement, despite the axing of the Lockheed Martin-led Aerial Common Sensor (ACS) programme, which planned to use as its platform the Brazilian manufacturer’s ERJ-145 regional jet (Flight International, 17-23 January).
“As far as we are concerned, ACS is an active campaign and our US strategy is alive,” says Embraer’s new executive vice-president for defence and government market, Luiz Carlos Aguiar. “The failure was not Embraer’s fault. It was quite clear that we met the requirements which we had in our hands at the beginning of the process. Yes, I am frustrated, but not with what Embraer has done.”
Speaking at last month’s Asian Aerospace show in Singapore, Aguiar said focusing on the US Department of Defense – as a partner with US primes – is crucial to Embraer hitting its target of achieving a fifth of its sales from defence by 2010, compared with 10% today. “It is the most important defence market for us,” he said. During the ACS campaign – one of its first major sorties into the US defence sector – the company “proved to be dependable and flexible to adapting to evolving requirements”, said Aguiar.
Although Embraer is also focusing much of its efforts on winning Singapore’s current trainer contest – where its EMB-314 Super Tucano is one of four rivals, and which could spark follow-on orders for the winner from Thailand, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates among others – Aguiar says the company is also confident about prospects for government sales of its Legacy business jet. It has sold five Legacys to India – fitted with self-protection suites and satellite communications equipment – and one to Greece. “We have no doubt this is a strong market also,” he says.
Visit the defence page at flightglobal.com for more details on the ACS saga.
MURDO MORRISON / SINGAPORE