Boeing announced three significant new defense partnerships here yesterday, although one partner was not identified. The American group signed a memorandum of understanding with Elbit Systems to promote the Hermes 450 and 900 UAVs in the U.S. and some international countries; it extended collaboration with Embraer on the A-29 Super Tucano; and it revealed discussions with the maker of a super midsize business jet that would serve as the platform for a medium-sized maritime surveillance aircraft (MSA), with mission systems derived from the P-8 Poseidon, E-3 AWACS and Wedgetail AEW aircraft (based on the 737 airframe).
Tim Peters, Boeing vice president surveillance and engagement, said the company hoped to announce the selected MSA aircraft by the end of the year. Boeing’s research indicates that the maritime surveillance market will be worth more than $10 billion over the next 10 years. Chris Chadwick, Boeing Military Aircraft president, told AIN that the company is aiming to provide a lower-cost option “by removing some bells and whistles” from the larger, Boeing-designed aircraft.
Debbie Rub, Boeing vice president missiles and unmanned airborne systems, explained that Elbit’s Hermes product line “complements the Boeing unmanned portfolio while addressing and important need for U.S. warfighters and allies.” Boeing is developing a high-altitude long endurance (HALE) unmanned vehicle: the Phantom Eye. It offers small UAVs via the Insitu subsidiary. The Hermes 450 and 900 are medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) vehicles.
Interestingly, a triangular relationship between Boeing, Elbit and Embraer has been established in Brazil, where Boeing is pitching the F-18 Super Hornet fighter. AEL Sistemas, the Brazilian subsidiary of Elbit, was chosen earlier this year by Boeing to provide large cockpit displays for the F-15 and the F-18 fighters. It would therefore come as no surprise to learn that the Embraer Legacy 600 is Boeing’s preferred business jet for the MSA.