Embraer is displaying its C-390 tactical transport and A-29 Super Tucano at the World Defense Show (WDS) near Riyadh, as the Brazilian airframer eyes potential sales opportunities in Saudi Arabia.

The pair’s appearance in the static display comes just months after Embraer and Saudi Arabia’s SAMI signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) linked to the twinjet airlifter. Their pact includes promoting the type to the Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF) and exploring the potential to establish a local final assembly line and in-country maintenance capability.

C-390 at WDS 2024

Source: Craig Hoyle/FlightGlobal

A Brazilian air force example of twinjet type is in the static display at the World Defense Show near Riyadh

Embraer Defense & Security chief executive Bosco da Costa Junior tells FlightGlobal that company officials held further positive talks with Saudi counterparts at the 4-8 February show.

The RSAF has a long-held requirement to replace its aged Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules transports, with candidates including the C-130J, C-390, Airbus Defence & Space A400M and Leonardo C-27J.

Meanwhile, da Costa Junior says Embraer expects to sign a joint contract with pending C-390 operators Austria and the Netherlands “by mid-year”. The European nations have respective requirements for five and four examples of the type to replace their aged Hercules fleets.

Embraer’s defence unit enjoyed a strong finish to 2023, with South Korea in early December selecting the C-390 for a three-aircraft requirement. Da Costa Junior says it will look to build on this sales momentum in the Asia-Pacific region, with India viewed as another possible future customer.

Following its attendance in Saudi Arabia, Embraer will be promoting its C-390 at the Singapore air show from 20-25 February.

Also at the second biennial WDS event, Embraer Services & Support and Saudia Technic signed an MoU “commencing collaboration involving maintenance and training capabilities”.

Embraer says the pact’s scope is to “enhance co-operation in commercial aviation, with a focus on the E2 jets family and executive aviation maintenance”.

“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has one of the fastest-growing aerospace industries worldwide, and Embraer Services & Support is well-positioned to advance in the region by working in partnership with Saudia Technic,” says Carlos Naufel, the unit’s chief executive.

“This partnership will propel us towards new horizons, shaping the future of commercial aviation and paving the way for excellence in maintenance,” says Saudia Technic chief executive Captain Fahd Cynndy.