A pair of major new suppliers for Embraer’s next-generation E-Jets identified themselves last week in a sign that program advancement continues apace despite the airframer’s reservations about communicating any details about its plans for an industrial launch or even performance specifications.
The newly named suppliers–Liebherr Aerospace of Germany and East Aurora, New York-based Moog–join Pratt & Whitney (engines), Honeywell (avionics) and UTC Aerospace Systems (wheels and brakes) as partners in the second-generation E-Jet program, expected to yield a service-ready airplane in 2018.
Liebherr has agreed to supply the so-called high-lift system and air management system for the new E-Jets, colloquially known as the G2. Plans call for Liebherr-Aerospace Lindenberg of Germany to design and build the high-lift system to include complete fly-by-wire controls with dual-channel skew detection, integrated computers, hydraulic and electromechanical actuators and power control units.
Meanwhile, the German group has assigned Liebherr-Aerospace Toulouse of France responsibility for creating the air management system, using an integrated architecture to control the engine bleed-air system, the air conditioning system and the cabin pressure control system.
The other system supplier announced last week, Moog, has agreed to provide a three-axis primary flight control system, including proprietary flight control computers and software, flight control actuators and related control electronics.
During Embraer’s recent first-quarter earnings conference call for securities analysts, company CFO Jose Antonio Filippo indicated that the company had chosen most of the program’s main suppliers, suggesting imminent announcements related to the now-identified Liebherr and Moog contracts. However, while speaking with AIN during the May 6 to 9 Regional Airline Association Convention in Montreal, Embraer Commercial Aviation CEO Paulo Cesar de Souza e Silva declined to comment on the progress the company has made toward an industrial launch.
Separately, during the first-quarter earnings call Embraer CEO Frederico Curado said that the recent orders for current-generation E-Jets from Republic Airways and United Airlines will allow the company to maintain current production rates next year following a nearly 15-percent decline this year from 2012. Curado also expressed optimism that rates could return to 2012 levels if ongoing sales campaigns prove successful.
Curado reiterated estimates of a market for 200 to 250 regional jets in the 70- to 76-seat segment over the next year to year-and-a-half, generated in part by an expected order from American Airlines for its American Eagle subsidiary. Options attached to the Republic and United orders account for another potential source of new business, he said, as do other regional airlines still hoping to graduate to a 76-seat segment recently expanded by renegotiated scope clauses in the U.S. “I think so far we’re doing well but we still have some room ahead of us and there are some important battles to be fought and to be won,” concluded Curado.