Is Embraer bracing to compete for FWSAR contract?

It’s widely considered that the top contenders for the military’s $ 3.1 billion fixed-wing search and rescue (FWSAR) procurement program are Airbus, Alenia and Lockheed Martin. However, it appears that Brazilian aerospace conglomerate Embraer SA wants to enter the fray.

Embraer is currently looking for export opportunities for its new search and rescue aircraft the KC-390, a medium-sized airlifter powered by twin jet engines.

The aircraft incorporates many of the technological solutions from the Embraer E-Jets series and feature a rear ramp for loading and unloading a wide range of cargo. The unit price was estimated to be around US$50 million in 2007.

Embraer plans to submit its bid in January next year when Canada puts out its formal request for proposals, according to a report from DefenseWatch.

The KC-390 is well-suited for Canada’s SAR needs, said Geraldo Gomes, vice president of business development for Embraer Defence and Security.

The two jet engines of the aircraft will enable it to quickly respond to calls in Canada’s SAR regions including the Arctic, he said.

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Embraer may be facing some time crunch problems.

The government is asking contenders to submit two proposals for consideration by January 11 in a hybrid procurement not only meant to deliver not only aircraft but recommendations on how many planes are needed and where to station them as well.

The KC-390 prototype conducted its first flight in February 2015. The aircraft is not expected to enter into service until 2018.

Author: Nestor Arellano

Nestor Arellano is editor of Vanguard Magazine. Nestor is a seasoned journalist who has written extensively on defence and military industry issues as well as technology and business developments. He is also associate editor of Vanguard's sister publication, IT in Canada.

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