Mexico is in advanced talks to order up to 11 Embraer EMB-145SA airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft and a new EMB-145MP maritime patrol derivative.

The deal is understood to comprise firm orders for four EMB-145SAs and three MPs, plus options for another four aircraft. The order is still dependent on the programme surviving the political scrutiny of Mexico's forthcoming election, though, observers warn.

Mexico would be the third customer for the Ericsson Erieye radar-equipped development of the ERJ-145 regional jet. Brazil's air force is to begin taking delivery of five EMB-145SAs from mid-2001 as part of its Sivam Amazon surveillance programme.

Greece has ordered four aircraft, equipped with two extra mission consoles, electronic support measures, self-protection defensive aids and a Nato-compatible datalink. Embraer claims to be in active discussions with another 10 potential customers and will enter the forthcoming Italian and South Korean AEW competitions.

The maritime patrol aircraft is a derivative of the EMB-145RS Sivam remote-sensing version, three of which have been ordered by Brazil. In place of a belly-mounted McDonald Dettwiler synthetic aperture radar, the EMB-145MP will be equipped with a Raytheon search radar.

It will also be fitted with FLIR Systems' AAQ-22 Star Safire thermal imaging system, already integrated on the EMB-145RS. Embraer is looking in the longer term at fitting the aircraft with underfuselage hardpoints. The aircraft will take about a year to develop, says the company.

The EMB-145RS is also equipped with a suite of electronic intelligence and signal interception equipment and could be adapted to a dedicated electronic-intelligence role. Embraer has fitted the EMB-145SA with winglets as a trial to extend the aircraft's 8hon-station endurance by 5-6%. There are no plans to fit winglets to the EMB-145RS.

Source: Flight International