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15 avril 2013 1 15 /04 /avril /2013 17:25

Apr. 14, 2013 - By LAURA BONILLA – Defense News (AFP)


RIO DE JANEIRO — Embraer, the world’s third largest commercial aircraft maker, wants to boost its presence in the lucrative defense sector, with strong support from Brazil’s government.


The company aims to increase its sales in the sector by 25 percent this year, Luiz Carlos Aguiar, president of Embraer’s defense and security unit, said on the sidelines of this week’s LAAD Defense and Security expo here.


Between 2006 and 2012, Embraer’s defense activities expanded by an average of 29 percent annually to represent 17 percent of total sales, up from six percent.


Aguiar said the company hoped to grow 12 percent a year between now and 2020.


Last year, sales of its defense and security products exceeded $1 billion for the first time.


“The government wants to make Embraer a major defense player, and not just in the aerospace sector,” said Nelson During, a respected Brazilian defense expert who runs the DefesaNet website.


“Embraer wants to expand and diversify its products so as not to depend only on its commercial aircraft which are susceptible to the (economic) crisis, as happened in 2008.”


The company is banking on the development of surveillance systems (radar, electronic systems) and will be a key competitor in all future tenders, During said.


BNDES, the government’s development bank and investment arm, extended a line of credit to help Embraer finance the purchase of six Super Tucano A-29 light attack aircraft by Guatemala and three by Senegal, announced this week.


“The line of credit is part of the defense strategy,” Aguiar told reporters. “It is not very different from what we see in the rest of the world.”


For Embraer and the Brazilian defense sector in general, this government support is fundamental, according to During.


For years, BNDES and the government have been supporting sales of Embraer commercial aircraft, enabling it to offer financing terms comparable to those of competitors.


Brasilia is committed to developing a major domestic defense industry.


And implementing the government’s Border Surveillance Integrated System SISFRON will mean million-dollar contracts for Embraer.


Currently, SISFRON — a web of drones, radars, sensors and communication systems — is in the experimental stage. It is deployed 650 kilometers (400 miles) along the border of Mato Grosso do Sul state with Paraguay and Bolivia.


Later, it will be extended along the country’s 16,000 kilometers of borders with nine neighboring countries and French Guiana, an overseas territory of France, at an estimated cost of $6 billion.


“It is a $350 million program in its initial phase, which gives a major boost to Embraer contracts. It could mean billions of dollars,” said During.



This week, Embraer also launched the sale of its new military transport aircraft KC-390, the biggest built by Brazil, in partnership with Argentina, Chile, Colombia, the Czech Republic and Portugal.


The goal is to sell 728 such planes to 77 countries for a total value of more $50 billion.


Aguiar said his company was ready to enter a market dominated by US firm Lockheed Martin’s C-130 Hercules.


He added that the KC-390 would be sold at lower prices than those offered by competitors, without going into details.


Such planes are sold at between $90 and 125 million but Embraer will offer “much more competitive prices,” he noted.


Meanwhile, Embraer’s Super Tucano contract with Guatemala this week to help protect the Maya Biosphere also includes a command and control system, three primary three-dimensional radars as well as logistical support for air operations and training for pilots and mechanics.


The contract with Senegal also provides for logistical support for air operations and a training center for pilots and mechanics.


This week, Embraer further announced a $127 million contract with the Brazilian Air Force to provide logistical support and services to its fleet of 92 Super Tucanos.

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10 avril 2013 3 10 /04 /avril /2013 16:25

Gripen EF Photo Stefan Kalm - saabgroup.com SKA0070 355x236


Apr. 10, 2013 - By ANDREW CHUTER – Defense News


RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil — AEL-built avionics will be installed in the Brazilian version of the Gripen NG if the fast jet secures a deal to supply the Brazilian Air Force with a new fighter Saab, executives said Tuesday at the LAAD defense and security conference here.


Eddy de la Motta, the man leading Saab’s Gripen export drive, said AEL had been selected to supply displays, computers and other items in the event that the latest version of the Swedish fast jet wins the long-running FX-2 program.


The program to buy 36 fighters has been stalled by Brazilian economic developments, technology transfer and other issues.


The Gripen is in a three-way battle with Boeing’s F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet and Dassault Aviation’s Rafale for the deal.


La Motta said the inclusion of AEL avionics would create a separate standard of the under-development NG version of the aircraft already ordered by Sweden.


Switzerland has also selected the Gripen NG, but the purchase is subject to ratification by an upcoming referendum of voters there.


AEL is majority owned by Elbit of Israel. Embraer also has a 25 percent stake in a company, which has been heavily involved in providing avionics for recent Brazilian Air Force combat jet updates.


The Swedish executive took the opportunity during a briefing at LAAD to reiterate a financial offer on the FX-2 program that would allow the Brazilian government to not pay for the aircraft until the last machine had been delivered.


The payback period would run for 15 years after that, said the Saab executive.


In a separate development, Saab announced it had done a partnering deal with local Brazilian company Force Delta Equipamentos Militares for the part manufacture of multi-spectral camouflage for signature management.

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5 avril 2013 5 05 /04 /avril /2013 07:25



Apr. 3, 2013 - By AARON MEHTA  - Defense News


In 2006, Embraer Defense & Security, Brazil’s largest defense company, earned $227 million in revenue. In 2012, it cleared $1 billion in revenue for the first time. That economic growth has mirrored the company’s emergence on the world stage, a presence the company is confident it can increase even as nations around the world cut defense spending.


With the U.S. Air Force selecting Embraer’s Super Tucano as the light air support (LAS) contract winner to supply Afghanistan with new turboprop combat planes, the company now has a foothold in America and eyes on worldwide expansion with its KC-390 transport plane. Defense News talked to company CEO Luiz Carlos Aguiar on March 14 as part of a company-sponsored trip to Brazil.


Q. You’ve talked about seeking out niche markets. How does the company target these and capitalize on them?


A. We have great experience doing that, not just on defense. On defense, we have a couple of examples, such as the [LAS contract]. When the Brazilian Air Force and Embraer designed these airplanes, it was designed for the Brazilian mission. Later, we found we had discovered a niche product for countries like Brazil that had challenges on their borders, trying to control the narco-traffic, drugs, arms and other things like that. The Philippines, Indonesia, even Central America, there is a great challenge to control the drugs there. The Brazilian Air Force had introduced a new aircraft, and later other air forces decided it was the right one to combat these kind of problems we have all over the world.


Another case is the patrol and surveillance aircraft based on the ERJ-145 [a civilian regional jet]. It’s a very cost-effective airplane. It is now being utilized by Mexico, by Greece, by India and others. It was again based on the Brazilian budget constraints.


Other countries have a lot of cuts and they need to have a surveillance system. For their missions, they don’t need to buy a larger airplane — they need something smaller. Once again, we found our niche for that.


Q. How is the KC-390 transport plane different from past products?


A. When we thought about this airplane, it was the first time we looked at the international market also, not just the Brazilian requirements. We balanced both needs. We saw the market first. We saw there were 2,000 old airplanes all over the world in more than 70 countries, very well spread out with a diversified base of potential customers. We looked at that and saw there was only one aircraft available in the market being produced and being delivered [the C-130].


We looked at the market and then came back to the Brazilian Air Force to talk with them about what they think about their cargo airplanes for the future. They said they were probably going to replace with more C-130s, and we started talking and showed them we were able to develop something in a very feasible way. It took two years working together to launch and sign the contract. It was a much more sophisticated process. We are on schedule, and I think we have a great chance to sell abroad.


Q. What other products do you have an eye on exporting?


A. When you look at the land side of it, we have the C4I capabilities with the company we just bought, Atech. We need to invest more money on that, we need to have more contracts to develop the technology, but there are capabilities already in place.


The radar company, Orbisat, once again has a chance in Brazil to produce and deliver [for Embraer’s border security system] Sisfron, and then we’ll have an economy of scale and a great chance to mature this product and export it also. We are focused on C4I, radars. And our bet is intelligence and communications.


Q. You’ve said you view the LAS contract as establishing the company in the American market. How do you expand?


A. We need to consolidate first and execute this program. We have a new company there, which is Embraer Defense & Security, incorporated in the U.S. We need to find someone who will manage it, a local, American executive to run this business for us. And then we’re going to write down a new business plan for America that, in my opinion, must include certain types of acquisitions. We need to think a little more about it.


First thing is getting there, executing this program [LAS], getting closer to increase our credibility with the end user. We are certain in this. But we want to take this opportunity to get to know our end user. We’re going to find and study the market.


Our main objective is two pillars: mobility and surveillance. These two operational capabilities are what we are focused on. Any type of acquisition, any type of project, will be under these two pillars.


We don’t want to go into armaments or other areas. Why? Because despite all of the budget constraints, these two areas need capabilities. Even in these specific areas, the budget in Europe or the U.S. might grow despite the fact the entire [defense] budget is shrinking.


Q. Are you worried about Beechcraft’s challenge to the LAS contract award?


A. No. The process was so robust. Senior people took control of the process. They have internal and external advisers. I think they did the right thing, they did it by the book, and they will prove that. It’s going to take some time, but I think this time we’re going to get there. We are ready to go right away in order to deliver on time, but we need to be patient and wait a little bit more, unfortunately.


Q. Could the Beechcraft challenge impact the timing of the contract?


A. I hope not. At this stage, it is very difficult to say something. [The U.S. Air Force] needs to [act] carefully so it does not open any gap in the process. That’s the way it is.


Unfortunately, our competitors are going downhill. They discontinued a lot of products that in the past were the champions of the market, and they tried to keep this as if it was their survival. They keep saying that they have the lower price. But mission capabilities, past performance and price, there are three variables and the [request for proposal] is quite clear on that. [USAF] took all of the information, put it inside their model, and then said who is the winner. That’s the way it is.


Q. Is Brazil’s long-delayed F-X fighter jet program coming soon, and what role will Embraer have?


A. I think Brazil is going to make this decision. It is time to make this decision. They have everything in place. All of the contenders have offered their offset programs. It’s more than mature enough to go ahead, in my opinion. I think it’s going to be in the next months, this year, I would say. Our role in that depends — I cannot tell any details — depends on who is going to win.


We have a memorandum of understanding with all three of the contenders. Each of them offers an offset program, but we prefer not declaring publicly our preference because we don’t want it to jeopardize the choice. It is a governmental decision, and we will respect that. Whatever they choose, we’re going to be in the process. They need to make this decision because Brazil needs that.


And it will have huge benefits for industry as well. There are new technologies, products and developments. There are opportunities for Embraer to leverage our current technology through the F-X. With the F-X, we can even go further in terms of technology, and even some new products could come up with one of these three contenders. That’s what I can tell you, I can’t go further than that.


Q. Did the decision to recompete the LAS competition hurt the chances of a U.S. company winning the F-X program?


A. There is no formal relation between the two programs. Formally. But goodwill is important. I couldn’t say that the [F/A-18 Super Hornet] is not going to be selected, but for sure, the way that [the initial LAS contract] happened in the United States — choosing a Brazilian aircraft, then canceling the contract, the way it happened — it caused some kind of bad blood, right? It’s a normal, human perception.


Q. But you don’t think there was long-term damage to the relationship between the two countries?


A. No, I don’t think so. Now, it is different. There are some steps that any competitor in the United States has the right to do. It doesn’t mean the [USAF] is canceling the contract; they are trying to keep our victory. One year ago, they looked at the process, saw some gaps, made a mistake and they canceled the contract. Now it’s different. They are trying to defend their choice. So far, so good. No problem at all with the relationship. It’s a part of the game there. That’s the way it is, there are rules and laws.


Q. What is next for Embraer?


A. We’re going to have a lot of new projects. And they are big. We’re talking about $20-25 billion in the next 10 years. If you look back, it started in 2008, when we had the new national defense strategy. After that, you had the mobility project with KC-390, the submarine project with the French company DCNS, the Sisfron.


In any society, you want to develop technology and protect yourself, because there are threats you didn’t have before. There are more things happening in Brazil right now, and we need to protect ourselves. There are high-level, added-value products we can develop and export. That’s our objective. We don’t see the maximum market as just selling in Brazil and continuing the process later. We try to focus where we can add value, build up a capability, and sell abroad. That’s the way it is.




• 2012 revenue: $1.06 billion

• 2012 backlog: $3.4 billion

• Key businesses: Aerospace, border security, ISR and integrated solutions.

• Key markets: Latin America, Africa, Asia-Pacific

Source: Defense News research




Mehta reported from San Jose Dos Campos, Brazil.

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2 avril 2013 2 02 /04 /avril /2013 17:25



Apr. 2, 2013 by Stephen Trimble – FG


Washington DC - Two years can seem like a long time in the revitalised Brazilian defence market. While the lengthy delay to the air force's FX-2 fighter contract award receives most of the attention, the Brazilian military and the national defence industry have moved forward aggressively in key areas, revealing a new appreciation for taking national and regional security obligations more seriously.


Brazilian air force Hermes 450 UAV Brazilian air force

 Brazilian air force

The Hermes 450 is being adapted for local requirements

Perhaps the most telling example of this trend is the rapidly diversifying portfolio of Embraer Defense Systems. In 2012 alone, Embraer won a landmark border surveillance contract from the Brazilian army, formed a joint venture to manage satellite construction projects, publicly began contemplating a surprise entry into the shipbuilding industry, and - not least - posted a 24% increase in annual revenues, topping $1 billion in defence and security sales for the first time in the company's history.

The wide scope of those interests point in the direction of Embraer's evolution into Brazil's main prime contractor for a rapidly growing set of defence and security needs. It is a strategy likely to reshape the company's portfolio of products in the defence sector in less than a decade.




At the beginning of 2012, Embraer expected 75% of its defence revenues to come from four major programmes: development of the KC-390 transport and tanker; modernisation of AMX/A-1 and Douglas A-4 combat aircraft for the Brazilian air force and navy; the A-29/EMB-314 Super Tucano; and EMB-145-based P-99 and R-99 surveillance and command and control aircraft. It was a list with a healthy potential backlog and well within Embraer's comfort zone as an aircraft manufacturer.


By 2020, Embraer expects the fighter modernisation programmes and the P-99 and R-99 production lines to be gone, with the KC-390 and light attack aircraft to account for 43% of the defence company's overall revenues.

Meanwhile, revenues generated by several new business product lines, featuring Embraer as a border surveillance integrator, satellite construction manager, unmanned aerial vehicle maker and possibly even a shipbuilder, will contribute 42% of sales by the same point, according to its projections.

To be fair, Embraer had dabbled in the systems integration business in the past. It created an air operations centre for Mexico, which connected to the nation's EMB-145-based airborne early warning and control system aircraft. It had also participated in the creation of the Brazilian air force's system for the surveillance of the Amazon (SIVAM), but as a subcontractor to Raytheon.


There were no system integrators in Brazil when the SIVAM programme was awarded in the mid-1990s, as the country was in the midst of a near two-decade reduction in defence spending.

National priorities have shifted in the past decade, however, as Brazil has embraced a larger role on the regional and world stages and discovered a new wealth of oil and natural gas deposits within its maritime borders in the South Atlantic.



Foreign defence companies have been doing well in Brazil. With rising security needs and a small defence industrial base, the nation has been forced to go beyond its borders to buy military hardware.

That is why Brazil's new submarines come from France, its newest ocean patrol vessels come from the UK and its new fighter will be acquired from France, Sweden or the USA; the latter in a competition between the Rafale, Gripen E and Lockheed Marting F/A-18E/F Super Hornet.

But a new law passed in 2012 seeks to change Brazil's reliance on foreign companies for major weapons systems. Public law 12.598 establishes a new category for a "strategic defence company", of which at least 60% of the shares are owned by Brazilians.

It is not the first time a government has leveraged its defence budget to incentivise or protect a domestic industry. The US defence industry is shielded from some foreign competitors by the Buy American Act and the Berry Amendment.

Brazil's new law does not prohibit foreign companies from competing on military hardware or services bids, but it does make it harder for them to win. Instead, the law exempts strategic defence companies from Brazil's tax on industrial goods, and frees them from obligations to contribute to unemployment insurance and social security programmes.

The move appears partly aimed at countering the foreign defence companies that have been buying ownership stakes in Brazilian defence companies.

"There is no prohibition for someone who is a multinational company, but they are not to be eligible for the benefits of being a strategic defence company," says Luiz Carlos Aguiar, chief executive of Embraer Defence Systems.

The programme has already caused a minor restructuring within the defence industrial base. Two years ago, Embraer formed the Harpia Systems joint venture with Elbit Systems subsidiary AEL Sistemas, with equal ownership by both companies. As a result of the new law, former Embraer rival Avibras agreed to buy 10% of Elbit's stake in the joint venture, increasing the number of shares owned by the Brazilian firms to 60%.

Defence spending remains at a modest 1.6% of gross domestic product, but the country's rising economic output means spending has risen proportionately. Overall spending peaked in 2012 at $36 billion, of which about $5.16 billion was set aside for investments split between the three armed services.

"That's above what we had last year," says Luiz Carlos Aguiar, chief executive of Embraer Defense Systems. "There are some important programmes they have been reducing because they are finalising, and they are being replaced by others. That's why I believe we have space to grow in Brazil. Out of this $5 billion, Embraer, as a group, have 27%."

If that level of spending is sustained Brazil will be buying much more than new fighters and KC-390s during the next decade. The military is seeking to modernise its inventories of combat and support equipment, while introducing a wide-ranging surveillance network over the country's porous south-eastern border and territorial waters.


Indeed, Brazil's ambitions grew so large it appeared to briefly force Embraer on the defensive, as the promise of lucrative systems-integration contracts energised new competitors from the country's construction companies. Salvador-based Odebrecht formed an alliance with European prime contractor and EADS subsidiary Cassidian to compete for the border surveillance contract. Another Brazilian construction firm, Synergy Group, teamed up with Israel Aerospace Industries to pursue the same work.

In the end, the Brazilian army awarded the $400 million contract to Embraer in November 2012 to launch phase one of the system for the surveillance of the frontiers (SISFRON) contract.


The award appeared to deflate the hopes of Embraer's erstwhile competitors. Follow-on awards for SISFRON are still available and the Brazilian navy plans to launch a similar programme next year, but the Odebrecht/Cassidian joint venture has reportedly been dissolved in the aftermath of losing the army contract.




Instead, Embraer appears to have secured its new role as the Brazilian military's most important prime contractor, with billions of dollars in new programmes waiting on the books.

With the KC-390 already headed for series production, Embraer Defense Systems looks set to continue on a seven-year growth trend, including the defence unit that existed before the standalone company was formed. Defence sales accounted for only $227 million of Embraer's revenues in 2006, but nearly quintupled to more than $1.05 billion in 2012.


As a percentage of the company's overall revenues, the share claimed by the defence unit has nearly tripled to 17%, even as Embraer has introduced the Phenom 100 and 300 business jets to its product line-up.


The key for Embraer now will be executing on the SISFRON programme. It has only received the phase-one award, but the overall programme is valued at $4 billion during the next decade. The system is going to create a network of border surveillance stations, with ground-based radars, UAV sensors and command and control systems networked together to identify and catch smugglers crossing the open border.


Brazilian air force P-3 & F-5 Brazilian air force

 Brazilian air force

The fleet of the Brazilian air force includes Lockheed P-3 special-mission aircraft and Northrop F-5 fighters


"Until March we are going to finalise all of the subcontractors on the SISFRON contract," says Aguiar. "We have a deadline by the end of March, and we are in the process right now. We have already implemented our office. We have a physical office separated from Embraer in Campinas. It is a city close by Sao Paulo, close by Orbisat, which is part of the consortium."


Orbisat, which is partially owned by Embraer, is providing the ground-based radar for the phase-one pilot programme. Meanwhile, Atech, another Brazilian contractor partly owned by Embraer, will supply the command and control equipment.


The second phase of the contract is expected to be awarded in 2014, and it is not guaranteed it will be given to Embraer. "It depends on our performance," Aguiar says. "If we do the right thing they will hire us again."




SISFRON's second phase is likely to usher in the use of operational UAVs in regular Brazilian military operations. Embraer anticipated the need and formed a joint venture with Elbit Systems-owned subsidiary AEL Sistemas, which is adapting the Israeli manufacturer's Hermes 450 for Brazilian requirements. In January, Avibras also acquired a 10% stake in the Harpia Systems joint venture, which adds the Falcao UAV to the product mix.


Although the SISFRON phase-two effort will be managed by the army, Harpia is waiting on developments with the Brazilian air force, which is charged with setting overall unmanned air system requirements for all three branches of the military.


"They are designing the requirements for the UAS," Aguiar said in January. "This is going to become public probably two or three months from now, and then we are going to participate and make our proposal to develop this new configuration UAV through Harpia."


Embraer has projected a market in Brazil worth $1 billion during the decade for new UAVs alone. The company has also invested an ownership stake in Santos Labs, which makes small UAVs, and signed a licence agreement with Boeing Insitu.


"It is good not having a UAV in the first phase of SISFRON because it's going to give us a bit of time to develop," Aguiar says.


Another market possibly worth more than $1 billion to Embraer in the next decade is Brazil's nascent satellite industry. In 2012, Embraer formed Visiona, a joint venture with national telecommunications company Telebras, to manage a growing requirement for earth observation and communications relay satellites over Brazil. Visiona is evaluating the selection of manufacturers for the satellites and the command and control systems.


"After that we're going to be responsible for signing the contract with the insurance company and the launching company," Aguiar says. "To integrate those parts, I think we have a chance to learn from this experience in order to add value for the second, the third and the fourth satellites that Brazil, for sure, will need in the future."




The Brazilian air force is likely to announce a firm order for Embraer's KC-390 tactical transport and tanker at the Latin American Aerospace and Defence (LAAD) trade show in Rio de Janeiro in April, analysts say.


The aircraft completed its critical design review on 22 March, which means Embraer can release engineering drawings to the factory floor in preparation for building and flying the first KC-390 in the second half of 2014. If all goes well, series production will start in 2016, with deliveries starting the same year.


Brazil, which is paying more than $2 billion to develop the KC-390, has so far only signed a letter of intent to purchase 28 of the aircraft. Securing a firm order would be a vote of confidence from the KC-390's domestic market, and provide a significant boost to Embraer's sales campaigns to secure further international commitments for the new aircraft.

In many ways, the KC-390 is Brazil's halo product that the rising economic colossus hopes will herald its arrival on to the international defence market.


In addition to its home market, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, the Czech Republic and Portugal have also signed letters of intent for a further 32 KC-390s. Colombia says it will buy 12 aircraft, while Argentina, Chile and Portugal are expected to order six each. The Czech Republic is also expected to buy two jets.


Rebecca Edwards, an analyst at Forecast International, says Embraer hopes to convert these commitments into a total of 60 firm orders by the end of 2013.


Embraer KC-390 Embraer

 Brazilian air force

Embraer completed the critical design-review of the tactical transport and tanker on 22 march

Embraer estimates the medium-lift transport market is worth $50 billion during the next 10-15 years, which could mean a total of 700 orders up for grabs. While Lockheed Martin's C-130J Hercules currently dominates that market, Edwards says Embraer could seize a significant portion of those sales. "The KC-390 is going to pursue sales as the C-130 replacement, a market of considerable size and potential," she says. "Granted, the KC-390 will not be the only competition, but it can be expected to win a good portion of the market. Based on this information, Forecast International anticipates unit production to reach 98 aircraft by 2021 and as high as 234 by 2027."

Indeed, Embraer admits the Lockheed-built tactical transport is its chief rival, even though it was not the company's original intent to compete head-to-head.

Richard Aboulafia, an analyst at the Teal Group, says it is certainly possible that Embraer could sell anywhere from 150 to 200 aircraft, but that is assuming the US market remains closed to Embraer. Teal's forecast calls for a more gradual ramp up of the KC-390 line, with 25 aircraft being built by 2021. Aboulafia says Embraer's projection for a potential market of 700 aircraft is roughly on target, but much of that is locked-up by the USA.


Edwards says many of Embraer's sales will come in the Latin American and African markets, where the USA has comparatively less political clout. Political muscle is a huge factor in military aircraft sales, Aboulafia adds, but Embraer could compete by offering a "really good" aircraft at low prices. However, the challenge will be to hold the KC-390's price down at around the $50 million level. "There are all kinds of reasons to prefer a C-130J, but what they're really going for is value for money for a really good cargo box," Aboulafia says. "They're going to find a niche here."


Paulo Gastao Silva, Embraer vice-president for the KC-390 programme, says the aircraft is "on track" to meet its cost targets, projected at between $2.3-2.4 billion. In fact, there has been a slight drop of about $42 million in the projected development cost for the transport, he says.


Gastao Silva's figures do not quite match up with earlier cost projections, originally budgeted at $1.3 billion, according to a Teal Group report. The report projects the aircraft's development costs would increase by $2 billion to $3 billon, which seems to have at least partially borne out.


One factor which could drive up prices is that the Brazilian government has mandated the use of as many local suppliers as possible, depriving programme managers of the ability to choose the best components at the lowest possible cost, Aboulafia says. Local subsystems tend to cost more than their international counterparts because of economies of scale and development costs. "It's not a killer, it's just something that hobbles designers, especially when they're trying to keep costs down," he says.


But the KC-390 does have significant advantages over its Lockheed-built competitor in that it is a much newer design which incorporates new technologies such as fly-by-wire, Edwards says. The Brazilian aircraft carries a 23t payload, which exceeds the roughly 21t carrying capability of the C-130J. Additionally, the KC-390, powered by twin International Aero Engines V2500 turbofans, is also 100kt (185km/h) faster than the Lockheed type, with a cruise speed of 465kt.

Gastao Silva says the KC-390 is being designed specifically to operate from austere semi-prepared airstrips. He adds that the aircraft can make 10 passes on a fully unpaved runway before the landing strip is rendered useless.


But while choosing the V2500 was a good move because it is a proven airliner engine with a huge installed base on the Airbus A320 fleet, turbofan engines may actually hinder the KC-390's appeal as a tactical transport, particularly for special missions, Aboulafia says. "For this size class, that's assuming more of a cargo mission rather than a special operations," he says. "It also assumes more developed airfields rather than improvised or rough ones."


One of the questions that must be answered about Embraer's claims pertaining to the KC-390's improvised airfield capabilities is what kind of payload the jet will be able to carry when operating from unpaved strips, Aboulafia says. There is also the ever-present danger of foreign object damage to the engines, which is less of a problem on turboprop-powered aircraft.


Additionally, some users prefer turboprops for low-altitude missions because they are much more fuel-efficient when operating in those flight regimes, Aboulafia says. "At low altitude there's nothing like a prop but, moreover, the quad-engined C-130 has more redundancy for those kinds of operations, which many potential users prefer. If you're doing more cargo or longer-range, jets are just fine, that's why the [Boeing] C-17 does just fine with turbofans," Aboulafia says.


Time will tell if Brazil and the KC-390 will be able take on Lockheed and the political muscle of the USA, securing a niche for itself. In any case, the KC-390 should prove to be a remarkable achievement once it completes its development cycle and enters into service.

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5 février 2013 2 05 /02 /février /2013 08:25





Brazilian defense manufacturer Embraer has added more international partners to its program for marketing KC-390, said to be a cheaper alternative to Lockheed Martin's C-130J.


The C-130J updates the internationally renowned tactical transport workhorse C-130 Hercules, the four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft that was originally designed and built by Lockheed, precursor to Lockheed Martin.


The fast-aging C-130, modified in more than 40 versions since it first flew in the 1950s, is still used by more than 60 nations worldwide but the tactical air transport market has expanded with the entry of rivals. The Hercules family still claims the longest continuous production run of any military aircraft in history.


Embraer says it can compete against most rivals including Lockheed Martin's C-130J. The Brazilian planemaker has been recruiting international partners as part of a strategy to boost the competitive edge for its contender KC-390.


The old C-130 beat off competition from Boeing B-52 Stratofortress, Soviet/Russian Tupolev Tu-95 and Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker. Lockheed Martin's updated C-130J Super Hercules can perform in-flight refueling, air-to-refueling and tanking. Embraer says it hopes to give its KC-390 all those features plus more.


Embraer says its aircraft will command a lift of 23 tons against 20 tons for most competitors, which include the larger Airbus A400M, Russia's AN-12, Chinese prototype Yun-8/9 and smaller aircraft that represent indirect competition.


Embraer is extending its efforts and markets by crafting a jet-powered medium transport with a cargo capacity of around 23 tons, that can be refueled in the air, and can provide refueling services to other aircraft by adding dedicated pods, the Defense Industry Daily said on its website.


"The KC-390 has now become a multinational effort, and may be shaping up as the C-130′s most formidable future competitor," Defense Industry Daily said.


"A potential tie-up with Boeing just underscored the seriousness of Embraer's effort."


The Boeing Co. and Embraer announced in June last year an agreement to collaborate on the KC-390 aircraft program.


The two companies agreed to share specific technical knowledge and evaluate markets where they may join their sales efforts for medium-lift military transport opportunities.


Boeing says it can bring to Embraer its experience in military transport and air refueling aircraft, as well as knowledge of potential markets for the KC-390.


Luiz Carlos Aguiar, president and chief executive officer of Embraer Defesa e Seguranca, says the agreement will strengthen the "KC-390's prominent position in the global military transport market."


Embraer says global demand for tactical transport aircraft that can replace the C-130 and other transport planes exceeds 700 aircraft.


In 2011 Embraer signed a contract with DRS Defense Solutions for designing, developing, testing and producing the KC-390 cargo handling and aerial delivery system. The work will be performed by DRS Training and Control Systems in Fort Walton Beach, Fla.


Some of the transport plane's structural parts will come from Portuguese companies after an agreement signed by Embraer and OGMA, or Industria Aeronautica de Portugal, and Empresa de Engenharia Aeronautica.


A declaration of intent between the Brazilian and Portuguese ministries of defense, signed in September 2010, preceded the contract, which emphasizes Portugal's commitment to purchasing KC-390 airplanes.


The Brazilian company AEL Sistemas, based in Porto Alegre, is another partner supplying components for the KC-390.


"The KC-390 is being designed to operate all over the world, in different scenarios, with the same outstanding performance," Embraer's Eduardo Bonini Santos Pinto said.

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1 février 2013 5 01 /02 /février /2013 12:35

China Carrier (Liaoning)


February 1, 2013: Strategy Page


It was rather surprising to Westerners that China managed to get jet aircraft operating from their new aircraft carrier (the Liaoning) last November just two months after the ship was commissioned (on September 25th). Training of carrier pilots began nearly a decade earlier, but perhaps the smartest move the Chinese made to arrange for Brazil to have its carrier sailors show the Chinese how it’s done. This was particularly important in the case of how the deck sailors on a carrier operate to get aircraft ready for takeoffs and how the air control specialists in the carrier “island” handle landings. While Russian carrier expertise was for sale, the Chinese wanted to learn how Western navies did this, since carrier operations were invented in the West a century ago.


Four years ago Brazil agreed to this deal so that Chinese sailors could learn carrier operating skills on the Brazilian Navy's carrier, the "Sao Paulo." It was 13 years ago that Brazil bought the 32,000 ton French aircraft carrier Foch (which was still in service) for $12 million, updated it and renamed it "Sao Paolo". The navy has not been able to get much cash out of the government to further refurbish the 51 year old Sao Polo, and apparently the Chinese deal will change that.




The 33,000 ton "Sao Paolo" was headed for decommissioning, and has been used mainly to train carrier pilots when Bazil bought it. The "Sao Paolo" entered service in 2000, and the Brazilians retired the 20,000 ton "Minas Gerais", a World War II era (British) Colossus Class carrier a year later (after 40 years of service). So the Brazilians have a long tradition of carrier operations, and sufficient experienced carrier sailors to teach the Chinese some useful things. Brazil has long been the only South American nation to operate a carrier. The Sao Polo has a crew of 1,900 and was designed to carry 35 warplanes (smaller, older models like the A-4) and four helicopters. This load can vary depending on aircraft type.


The first Chinese aircraft carrier, the Liaoning is a 65,000 ton, 305 meter (999 feet) long ship that had spent over a year on sea trials. During that time Liaoning was at sea for about four months. This was all in preparation for flight operations. Last year China confirmed that the Liaoning will primarily be a training carrier. The Chinese apparently plan to station up to 24 jet fighters and 26 helicopters on the Liaoning and use the ship to train pilots and other specialists for four or more additional carriers that are to be built.


Six years ago the Chinese Navy Air Force began training carrier fighter pilots (or "aviators" as they are known in the navy). In the past Chinese navy fighter pilots went to Chinese Air Force fighter training schools, and then transferred to navy flight training schools to learn how to perform their specialized (over open water) missions. Now, operating from carriers and performing landings and take-offs at sea has been added to the navy fighter pilot curriculum. The first class of carrier aviators has finished a four year training course at the Dalian Naval Academy. This included learning how to operate off a carrier, using a carrier deck mock-up on land. Landing on a moving ship at sea is another matter. The Russians warned China that it may take them a decade or more to develop the knowledge and skills needed to efficiently run an aircraft carrier. The Chinese are game and are slogging forward. The first landing and takeoff was apparently carried out in calm seas. It is a lot more difficult in rough weather (when the carrier is moving up and down and sideways a lot) and at night. The latter, called “night traps”, is considered the most difficult task any aviator can carry out, especially in rough weather.

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14 novembre 2012 3 14 /11 /novembre /2012 08:05

Gripen EF Photo Stefan Kalm - saabgroup.com SKA0070 355x236

In 2009 Gripen submitted an offer for

36 Gripen NG fighters to Brazil.


November 13, 2012 defpro.com


Brazilian suppliers to become a member of GE’s global supply chain


Saab’s technology transfer plan regarding Gripen NG for the Brazilian F-X2 fighter jet competition has been further strengthened by its partner GE Aviation signing MOU´s with several Brazilian aerospace companies. The MOU’s enable Brazilian suppliers to become a member of GE’s global supply chain and strengthens the in-country component of Saab’s Gripen NG proposal to the Brazilian Air Force.


The MOUs with Grauna Aerospace S.A., Increase Aviation Service Ltda., TAP Maintenance and Engineering, Avio do Brasil and AKAER provide local expertise in different areas of aircraft maintenance, manufacturing and engineering.


"GE Aviation is pleased to build on our excellent relationship with Brazil, where we have developed cutting edge technologies with local industry and launched our most recent technology research center in Rio de Janeiro,” said Tom Champion, GE Aviation Industrial Cooperation director. "With on-the-job training, GE will help build industrial capabilities in Brazil that will position the country to compete in the aerospace market for years to come."


The potential co-operation for GE Aviation is to develop programs with the Brazilian aerospace companies to establish long-term aircraft support within Brazil. The programs would include technology transfer as well as training in maintenance and assembly and engine inspection and testing.


“I am very pleased with the continued and extended support from GE that demonstrates their comittment to our joint activities in Brazil. Saab and GE has a long term sucessful partnership in the Gripen program,” said Åke Albertsson Saab Country Manager in Brazil.

Akaer is already participating in the Gripen NG programme including design, tooling and industrialization and in May 2012 Saab strengthened its relation with Akaer through a financial investment furthering yet another important step towards further future design, development and production of Gripen NG in Brazil.


Saab’s proposal for Gripen NG in Brazil includes a Technology Transfer plan to equip Brazilian industry with the necessary capabilities (skills & knowledge) to perform development, production and maintenance of the Gripen NG.


The Transfer of Technology will be performed through hands-on development work and put into practice through the development, manufacturing, operation and future upgrade phases of the Gripen NG in Brazil. A strategic alliance with Brazilian industry where Brazil will become an equal partner in the development work of Gripen NG.

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13 juin 2012 3 13 /06 /juin /2012 18:49
Sagem acquiert la société brésilienne Optovac

Paris, Eurosatory 2012, Ie 13 juin 2012 Sagem


Sagem (groupe Safran) vient de signer à Eurosatory un accord en vue de l’acquisition d’Optovac Mecânica e Optoeletrônica Ltda, société brésilienne spécialisée dans le domaine de l’optronique et de la vision nocturne. Elle fait partie du tissu de PME innovantes reconnues par le Ministère de la défense brésilienne, disposant de tous les atouts pour devenir une Entreprise Stratégique de la Défense (EED).


Cette acquisition s’inscrit dans le cadre de la stratégie de partenariat local que Sagem entend développer avec l’industrie de défense au Brésil.


Sagem a pour objectif d’accompagner la croissance de cette société, avec l’ambition d’en faire un acteur de référence dans le domaine des technologies, équipements et systèmes optroniques.


Optovac aura vocation à produire et à assurer le soutien au profit de ses clients d’une large gamme d’équipements sur la base des savoir-faire de Sagem. Son activité comprendra également le développement local de solutions adaptées aux besoins des forces armées brésiliennes.

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25 mai 2012 5 25 /05 /mai /2012 07:00
French leader's Brazil visit could hasten decision on jets

May 23, 2012 Spacewar.com (AFP)


Brasilia - French President Francois Hollande's visit to Brazil next month for the Rio+20 summit could help hasten Brasilia's decision on a contract to buy 36 next-generation fighter jets, a government official said Wednesday.


The Rafale fighter, made by French firm Dassault Aviation, is competing against the US F/A-18 Super Hornet and Swedish manufacturer Saab's Gripen for the contract valued at between $4 billion and $7 billion.


The government official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Hollande's attendance at the June 20-22 UN summit on sustainable development "could untie the knot", with Brasilia hoping for clarifications on the French offer.


"We are not happy with any of the proposals" right now, the official said, explaining that the French price was deemed too high while Brasilia does not trust US assurances on technology transfer.


Brazil, Latin America's dominant power and the world's sixth-largest economy, is insisting on technology transfer in all its defense agreements.


Last month, US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta visited Brazil and pledged US advanced technology transfers if Brasilia chooses the Boeing's F/A-18.


France has offered full technology transfers in its bid to win the contract.


Another factor is India's recent tentative decision to buy 126 Rafales in a contract valued at $12 billion, a more attractive price than that proposed to Brazil.


Brazilian Defense Minister Celso Amorim traveled to India in February to discuss prospects for a "technical military accord."

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30 mars 2012 5 30 /03 /mars /2012 07:00



March 29, 2012 by Dave Majumdar – FG


Washington DC - Lockheed Martin promoted its reduced-cost C-130XJ variant of the venerable Hercules tactical transport at FIDAE.


The US company's move might be seen as a direct challenge to Embraer. The Brazilian manufacturer has said previously that it is negotiating with Chile to sell the nation's air force six KC-390 jet-powered airlifters that it is developing.


In August 2010, the two South American states signed a declaration of intent that would see Chile's Enaer participate in the development of the KC-390.


Lockheed however, while not overtly stating it is targeting Chile's business, says that it has had numerous inquires from South American nations for the C-130XJ. The aircraft is anywhere from 10% to 15% cheaper than the standard C-130J produced for the US Air Force.


"We've tried to tailor the XJ so that it can have a lower price point and still give them the capabilities that they need," says Lockheed's Jim Grant, who oversees the C-130XJ effort.

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24 décembre 2011 6 24 /12 /décembre /2011 07:35
Brazil invests in rival to C-130 transport


SAO PAULO, Dec. 23 (UPI)


Brazil is investing heavily in developing its potential rival to Lockheed Martin's C-130J and other European, Russian and Chinese competitors in a multibillion-dollar global military transport market.


This month Brazilian aircraft maker Embraer signed a strategic partnership agreement with Portugal that gives the Brazilian aviation giant a head start with anticipated early access to parts it cannot immediately produce at home.


Embraer is banking on being able to break even and make good on its investment in the KC-390 military airlifter and aerial refueling jet program with just 120 orders, industry sources said.


Embraer said the deal with Portugal's Industria Aeronautica de Portugal will give the company access to components to be made in Portugal.


Global demand for the 20-ton versatile air transport sector, dominated for years by the C-130 and its Russian rivals, remains strong. Aviation industry forecasts said the total international demand for aircraft in the category could exceed 700.


Embraer hopes to develop the jet-powered KC-390 to a point where it can compete comfortably in price and capacity with the Lockheed Martin C-130J, the Airbus A400M, the Russian AN-12 and its Chinese prototype the Yun-8/9 as well as the Indo-Russian Irkut/HAL MRTA aircraft.


The air transport market has also seen the emergence of smaller transport aircraft, including the European EADS-CASA C-295M and Italian Alenia Aeronautica's C-27J that Embraer as well as its rivals have to contend with.


Embraer said it hopes to enter the market with a jet-powered medium transport KC-390 model that is likely to have a cargo capacity of around 23 tons, able to refuel and be refueled in the air.


Portuguese components for the KC-390 are likely to include structural parts and aerial refueling jet technologies.


Embraer Defense and Security President Luiz Carlos Aguiar said, "Portugal's participation in the KC-390 program strengthens our position in the European defense market."


A declaration of intent between the Brazilian and Portuguese ministries of defense, signed in September 2010, preceded this contract which also emphasizes Portugal's commitment to purchasing KC-390 airplanes.


Brazilian government sources said the partnership with Portugal gives Brazil new opportunities to boost its military aviation sector and develop technological competencies.


The original C-390 was meant to be a militarized ERJ-190 jet that competed in a niche market between EADS-CASA's C-295M and Lockheed Martin's C-130 Hercules. The aircraft served Brazil's postal services but over the years additional research and development allowed Embraer to add or modify features, turning it into a serious rival to the C-130 range.

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11 juillet 2011 1 11 /07 /juillet /2011 16:55
Rafale au Brésil : la France fixée début 2012


11 juillet 2011 par Ana Lutzky – L’USINE NOUVELLE


La décision brésilienne sur l'achat éventuel d'avions de combat français Rafale, attendue pour le printemps, est reportée à "début 2012". C'est ce qu'a annoncé samedi le ministre de la Défense brésilien Nelson Azevedo Jobim.


Interrogé sur le calendrier de la décision, Nelson Jobim a indiqué qu'elle n'interviendrait qu'en début d'année prochaine. Une déclaration faite en marge des "Rencontres économiques" d'Aix-en-Provence.


Il a expliqué ce contre-temps par le changement politique occasionné par l'élection à la présidence de Dilma Rousseff en novembre, qui a succédé au président Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. "Pour le moment, nous nous concentrons sur des questions de politique intérieure, avec le nouveau gouvernement", a-t-il justifié.


Le Rafale de Dassault est en compétition avec le F/A-18 Super Hornet de l'américain Boeing et le Gripen NG du suédois Saab, pour un marché évalué entre quatre et sept milliards de dollars.

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20 juin 2011 1 20 /06 /juin /2011 18:40



PARIS, June 20, 2011 /PRNewswire


Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. announced today at the Paris Air Show that the Brazilian Navy has signed an agreement with the U.S. Government to acquire two additional Sikorsky S-70B™ maritime helicopters via the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) process. Sikorsky is a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX).


In 2010, the Brazilian Navy contracted for four S-70B aircraft, also through the FMS system, with deliveries starting in December 2011 and continuing through the end of the First Quarter of 2012. Sikorsky expects contract finalization for the additional two aircraft in 2012. The multi-role S-70B SEAHAWK™ helicopter can perform anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare missions, among others.


"The Brazilian Navy has relied on Sikorsky aircraft for decades, including the venerable H-3 SEA KING™ helicopters dating to the 1960s. We thank the Navy sincerely for its continuing commitment to our products," said John Pacelli, Vice President, International Military Business, for Sikorsky.


Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., based in Stratford, Conn., is a world leader in helicopter design, manufacture, and service. United Technologies Corp., based in Hartford, Conn., provides a broad range of high technology products and support services to the aerospace and building systems industries.

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