Boeing, Embraer's KC-390 Flirting Gets Serious


After flirting through a technical relationship for more than a year, Embraer and Boeing have taken the next step in their KC-390 tanker/transport relationship.

U.S. aerospace giant Boeing has signed on to market the Brazilian aircraft in selected areas, expanding on a technical agreement signed in the spring of 2012.

Boeing will lead sales, marketing, training and sustainment of the KC-390 in the United States, United Kingdom and two unnamed Middle East countries.

The pair announced their agreement June 18 at the Paris Air Show, and they are eyeing what they hope will be a dwindling appetite for C-130Js in years to come. 

Chris Raymond, vice president of business development for Boeing Defense, Space and Security, said the deal is focused only on the KC-390 and is not intended to influence the protracted source selection underway by the Brazilian government on a new fighter. Boeing's F/A-18E/F has been on offer there for years. 

The KC-390 market was previously expected to be about 700 aircraft, says Luiz Aguiar, president and CEO of Embraer’s defense segment. He did not say how many more orders he projects Boeing can bring to the table.

The Pentagon, the largest single defense market on the globe, does not have a requirement for a smaller airlifter; it has been wedded for decades to the C-130 family, made by Lockheed Martin.

Critical design review for the airlifter is set for next month. The first order is expected to be announced in the first quarter of next year. Two KC-390 prototypes are set to roll out later this year.


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