Embraer taps HAL, Tata for defence aircraft mfg

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Embraer Defense & Security is in talks with five Indian entities, including Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) and Tata group, to manufacture defence transport aircraft in India, a top executive at the Brazilian plane maker said. The company hopes to finalize and announce its partner by the end of this year.

“It is important to say we are watching a lot what those big players are doing here in India; we are learning from them; and we are in touch with them as well. We are talking to four or five companies to discuss the MTA (Medium Transport Aircraft) programme, and these companies are from both the government and private sector,” João Bosco da Costa Junior, president and chief executive, Embraer Defense & Security, said in an interview.

Replying to a specific query whether Embraer is in talks with HAL or Tata group, Costa Junior said: “I think you are touching some big players… And we are learning from them, and we are in touch with them as well.” “No later than end of this year, 23 December, we do expect to announce the partner,” added. He also said the potential partnership could also manufacture commercial aircraft.

Mint reported in June that Embraer is in talks with Tata and Mahindra groups, among others, for a commercial aircraft manufacturing partnership for India.

Costa Junior added that Embraer is currently visiting the facilities of these companies, which are exploring and evaluating the best match to add value under the make-in-India initiative.

The company is open to any agreement that will propose the best plan and help it penetrate the Indian market. “We would do whatever is needed and win this campaign to serve the Indian Air Force (IAF). We are not here to offer just final assembly or parts manufacturing; we see India as a hub and, if needed, we are flexible to share intellectual properties, to bring knowledge and technology, with the Indian government,” he said.

Earlier this year, IAF issued a Request for Information for a new fleet of 40-80 Medium Transport Aircraft, for which Embraer is offering its C-390 Millennium aircraft.

Embraer said its make-in-India journey will be irrespective of whether it wins the order. “India is a strategic market to me. I would like to have Embraer Defense & Security as a strong brand here in the country. So, of course, I’m looking forward to have a big operation here if I win the MTA (order), but I would like to keep my journey here forever,” Costa Junior said.

The Brazilian manufacturer is likely to be competing with US aerospace company Lockheed Martin Corp. with its C-130J Super Hercules and Europe’s Airbus Defence and Space with its A400M aircraft.

“We are trying to have a different attitude in this procurement process. But not only this, we have jets (private jets used for VVIP flights) flying in IAF, and I think India is very happy with the performance of their plane and happy with the level of service that we are providing,” he added.

“So, I think, we have conditions to balance the competition, and we are doing our best. We do believe that we have a case on our hands.”

Currently, Embraer has around 40 aircraft in India, across defence, commercial aviation and executive aviation.

Embraer’s Atech SkyFlow ATFM system (Air Traffic Flow Management) has been operational since 2017 and covers the entire Indian airspace.

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