UAE, Brazil in talks for Embraer KC-390

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The United Arab Emirates is the latest nation targeted by Brazil to join Embraer's KC-390 tanker/transport programme as a supplier and customer.

Brazilian defence minister Nelson Jobim on 19 September met with Gen H H Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, crown prince of Abu Dhabi and deputy supreme commander of the UAE armed forces.

Jobim says a possible agreement on military co-operation in negotiation between the countries could include Abu Dhabi's participation in the KC-390 programme. Such a deal also would involve UAE interest in the Embraer EMB-314 Super Tucano, he says.

  © Embraer

An agreement on the KC-390 could take several months to reach fruition, but would likely follow along the lines of Embraer's international participation strategy for the project.

The existing five-nation partnership for the KC-390 is based on adapting Embraer's risk-sharing development model to the military market, says Jairo Sotério, the company's marketing and business development manager for defence programmes.

Each partnership requires three separate agreements - government-to-government, air force-to-air force and industry-to-industry, he says. The goal is to ensure that each member of a nation's military-industrial complex is vested in the programme's success.

So far, Embraer has signed agreements to produce a possible 54 aircraft for Brazil, Chile, Colombia, the Czech Republic and Portugal.

The company has identified a potential market for nearly 700 aircraft, the first of which should enter service after 2015. The KC-390 will carry a maximum cargo of 23.6t, Embraer announced in July, with this marking a nearly 20% increase over previous estimates.

Embraer still has not identified an engine supplier for the KC-390. Marketing materials have depicted the aircraft powered by engines resembling the CFM International CFM56 and International Aero Engines V2500.