Embraer and Elbit Systems have formalised one joint venture to develop new unmanned air systems (UAS) and signed another deal to supply a key component for the KC-390 airlifter and tanker.

The new joint venture, called Harpia Sistemas, will modify the Elbit Hermes 450 UAS for the Brazilian air force, and develop and maintain its own systems, Embraer said.

The Brazilian government is still determining the requirements for its version of the Hermes 450, which are likely to include a beyond-line-of-sight communications link to extend the range of the UAS.

 Hermes 450 Brazil - Antonio Riciere Biasus Elbit S
© Elbit Systems

Elbit has also sold similar UAS, including the Hermes 900, to other countries in the region, but the joint venture will not immediately take over those programmes.

"In the beginning the company will be focusing on the Brazilian market and will later evolve to other countries," Embraer said.

Embraer also confirmed that the Harpia name bears no relation to the Israel Aerospace Industries Harpy UAS, although both are named after a subtropical eagle.

Elbit's subsidiary in Brazil, which is named AEL, is the other half of the joint venture.

AEL has also been selected to supply the mission computer for the KC-390, which is the airlifter Embraer is developing for the Brazilian air force.

© Embraer

Embraer has also announced that UK-based Cobham Mission Equipment will supply the wing aerial refuelling pods and Selex Galileo will deliver a T-20 Gabbiano tactical radar.

The KC-390 is scheduled to complete its first flight in 2014. Last month, Embraer announced the airlifter will be powered by International Aero Engines V2500 turbofans.

Source: Flight International