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SINGAPORE 2010: Embraer to select industrial partners for KC-390 by mid-2011

Embraer aims to select industrial partners by mid-next year for the Embraer KC-390 medium-lift military transport.

This is because the joint-definition stage is mid-next year, says Embraer executive VP defense market Orlando Neto, adding that Embraer is now in the preliminary definition phase.

Embraer aims to have four to five industrial partners, says Neto. Industrial partners will be those countries that get a share of the work on the programme in return for placing an order for the aircraft.

When asked what type of work he envisages industrial partners doing, Neto says it could be parts for the airframe such as the tail and systems such as the landing gear.

Embraer has already issued request for proposals and requests for information with regards to key systems such as the engines and avionics, says Neto.

The Brazilian aircraft-maker is launching the KC-390 with the backing of the Brazilian Air Force.

Its air force needs KC-390s because it has at least 30 Lockheed Martin C-130s that will need to be replaced eventually.

The Brazilian Air Force order will be larger than 30 because the KC-390 is designed to do a number of different missions, says Neto.

In addition to being a military transport, there will also be variants of the KC-390 that will be aerial tankers that can refuel fighter jets and helicopters, says Neto.

Embraer aims to have the first prototype start flying in 2013 and get the operational clearances approved in time so the first aircraft can be delivered to the Brazilian Air Force in 2015, he adds.

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