With the award last summer of a $160 million contract to provide avionics for the U.S. Air Force KC-10 Extender aerial refueling tanker, Rockwell Collins (Booth Q79) became the primary avionics supplier for all USAF tankers. The U.S. manufacturer recently completed a fleetwide update of systems on the KC-135 Stratotanker, and will provide flight deck displays and other systems on its replacement, the KC-46A.
Brazilian Air Force
When the U.S. Air Force announced on December 22 that it had selected Sierra Nevada and its Brazilian partner Embraer as the winner in the competition to build a light air support aircraft, not everyone was happy, in particular Wichita-based Hawker Beechcraft, a competitor for the same contract.
Elbit Systems’ Brazilian subsidiary, AEL Sistemas, will supply the self-protection suite and directed, infrared countermeasures for the new Embraer KC-390 military airlifter, as well as the pilots’ head-up display (HUD) system, the companies announced late last month. AEL earlier was selected to provide the aircraft’s mission computers.
The Brazilian Air Force formally introduced–at Salvador airbase on September 30–its first P-3AM Orion maritime patrol aircraft modified by Airbus Military. Brazil bought 12 former U.S. Navy P-3A aircraft 10 years ago, but delayed their introduction to service.
• Bombardier Aerospace announced it will open its first regional support office in Latin America by year-end. The full-scale RSO will be located in São Paulo, alongside the Canadian OEM’s already established parts depot and authorized service facility, OceanAir Taxi Aéreo. “To compete globally you have to be prepared to commit and deliver locally,” said v-p of customer services and support Andy Nureddin.
Rockwell Collins provided AIN with more details of the avionics for the Brazilian KC-390 military transport. The avionics company believes that Embraer’s recent choice represents a strategic win, since it is the first military application of the Pro Line Fusion suite.
Embraer is looking at the possibility of a stretched civil version of its KC-390 tanker/transport, but not until the current task of developing the military version has been completed. A freighter version would most likely have fuselage plugs added fore and aft of the center section, not only increasing internal capacity, but also providing sufficient fuselage length for a side cargo door.
Embraer Defense and Security signed contracts for the KC-390 tanker-transport program with two industrial partners who will supply airframe structures.
The Brazilian Air Force (FAB) made two defense procurement decisions, but deferred the long-pending choice of a new combat aircraft. It bought an unspecified number of Hermes 450 UAV systems from the Brazilian subsidiary of Elbit Systems. The Israeli company noted that it has now sold UAVs to more than 20 countries and that the Hermes 450 has logged more than 200,000 operational flight hours.