Farnborough Air Show

Embraer, BAE MoUs Strengthen Ties on C-390, eVTOL

 - July 19, 2022, 10:06 AM
Jackson Schneider, president and CEO of Embraer Defense & Security (left), and Ian Muldowney, COO for the BAE Systems Air sector, celebrate two new MoUs announced during the Farnborough Airshow while in an Eve eVTOL display (Photo: Kerry Lynch/AIN)

Embraer is expanding its partnerships with BAE Systems under memoranda of understanding signed on Tuesday during the 2022 Farnborough International Airshow to collaborate on potential markets in the Middle East for the C-390 Millennium and to explore defense and security applications for the Eve eVTOL.

The first MoU paves the way for a strategic partnership that would enable Embraer to build on BAE Systems’ long-standing ties in the Middle East for opportunities for Embraer’s C-390 Millennium multi-role military transport aircraft. The partnership particularly focuses on Saudia Arabia, but the companies are considering possibilities in other markets in the region. BAE supplies the primary flight controls for the twin-engine multi-role military transport.

In service in Brazil and in certain European markets, the C-390 suits a collaboration in the Middle East, which represents a new market for the aircraft and its KC-390 air-to-air refueling variant. A C-390 is on display at the Farnborough Airshow.

While not addressing a specific requirement from Saudi Arabia, Ian Muldowney, COO for the BAE Systems Air sector, said a number of customers have aging C-130 fleets, and “we see that opportunity arising there.” BAE and Embraer particularly see potential in Saudi Arabia, not only as a means of transport but for special mission applications. “We want to be ahead of the game,” he said.

Jackson Schneider, president and CEO of Embraer Defense & Security, added that the MoU draws on the strengths of each partner bringing “a new concept to market, offering a versatile and multi-mission platform with very low operating costs and fast turnaround.”

The partnership follows a demonstration Embraer conducted in several markets in the region a few months ago. The Brazilian airframer earlier flew the C-390 to the Middle East before the pandemic.

As for the possibilities for the Eve eVTOL, the companies are exploring a range of options where such a vehicle could serve military markets in a cost-effective manner. Schneider cited possibilities from special operations to medical evacuation. Use of the vehicles will hold a particular advantage in that they don’t require fuel, he noted.

“Our customers’ operating environment is increasingly complex and eVTOL is just one example of how we’re looking at emerging technologies, including those from the commercial market,” Muldowney said.

As for the timing of such applications, Muldowney cautioned that “we don’t want to get ahead” of the commercial development. The MoU further cements plans revealed in December that the two parties were looking at the Eve eVTOL for a potential defense variant.