According to an announcement by Argentina’s Defense ministers, Brazil and Argentina have signed a letter of intent to jointly develop the KC-390 twin-engine military cargo aircraft.
In a press release, the ministry said the two countries will negotiate the “terms and conditions” in which Argentina will manufacture KC-390 components as well as Argentina’s possible acquisition of six of the aircraft.
Brazilian aircraft maker Embraer (Empresa Brasileira de Aeronáutica), best known for its regional and business jets, is designing the aircraft from scratch as it looks to build its military aviation business. The KC-390 has been described as a rival to Lockheed Martin Corp.’s Hercules C-130 transport aircraft, which is widely used by air forces around the world.
Since the end of August Embraer has established partnerships with four other governments – Chile, Colombia, Portugal and the Czech Republic -interested in joining the KC-390 program.
In July, the Brazilian Air Force said it would buy 28 of the jet-powered transports, and including the latest Argentine interest, the total number of orders could reach 60 aircraft, according to Embraer.
Argentina’s defense ministry also said that it expects to finish the certification of a light military utility vehicle, the Gaucho, by the end of this year, with a view to start serial production. Brazil will be responsible for building the engine, and Argentina will manufacture the chassis, the ministry said.
In related news Brazil’s defense minister says the final decision on what company will win a 5 billion US dollar fighter-jet contract will be made by the next administration.
Nelson Jobim said it would make no sense to make a decision now that can only be followed through by president-elect government. Previously, Jobim said President Lula da Silva would make the decision after the October 31 election.
The Rafale jet from France’s Dassault is competing against Sweden’s Gripen NG from Saab AB and U.S.-based Boeing Co.’s F-18 Super Hornet for the contract.