Embraer is poised to launch its proposed C-390 military airlifter but is effectively shut out of the Indian market while the rival Indo-Russian Multirole Transport Aircraft (MTA) project remains alive.
"We are on the verge of announcing this programme as soon as we finish the negotiations with the Brazilian air force," says Sergio Bellato Alves, Embraer vice-president for the Asian defence market. Speaking at the Aero India 2009 airshow in Bangalore, he says that the launch decision could come "in a matter of weeks" subject to an order being agreed with Brazil.
"We believe that now we have, if not the final configuration, at least we are approaching it," says Bellato. "We are in negotiations with the Brazilian air force to jump-start this programme. We believe that it will be happening pretty soon."
However, New Delhi has indicated that it is not interested in co-operating on the C-390 as long as the rival MTA continues to progress towards launch.
The MTA, "looks to me more or less in the same category [as the C-390], so we will be competing soon", says Bellato.
Supplier selections for the C-390 will "probably happen in a few months. Maybe at the end of this year we can start to talk to possible suppliers," he adds.
Meanwhile Embraer aims to secure civil certification for the C-390 under US FAA Part 25 regulations.
"We know that it will be a headache in the future to get the certification, but we believe, based on our experience with commercial jets, that it will pay off," says Bellato.
"This will allow companies like FedEx and DHL to use this aircraft to fly cargo around the world. Otherwise they could not.
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Source: Flight International