Embraer and Indian state-owned manufacturer Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) may be on track to form a joint venture to supply the KC-390 Millennium to the Indian Air Force, according to IDRW.
According to the Indian outlet, Embraer representatives should visit HAL’s facilities in India later this month to explore the possibility of a partnership.
The information coincides with the B20 India 2023 event, which will take place in New Delhi from August 25th and will feature the participation of executives from the Brazilian manufacturer, including Francisco Gomes Neto, CEO and President of Embraer, and Bosco da Costa Junior, CEO and president of the Embraer Defense and Security division.
The B20 meeting precedes the G20 New Delhi summit, with the participation of leaders from various nations around the world, including Brazil and India.
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The KC-390 is touted as the top option for the Medium Transport Aircraft (MTA) procurement program for the Indian Air Force.
If confirmed, this could be the biggest deal for Millennium, as New Delhi intends to acquire between 60 and 80 aircraft with the characteristics of Embraer’s multirole aircraft.
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The chance of an agreement between Embraer and HAL has been discussed for over a year. Former president and CEO of Embraer Defense and Security, Jackson Schneider confirmed in June 2022 that the Brazilian company had started talks with the Indian manufacturer to develop a version of the KC-390 to meet the needs of the Asian giant.
“We are absolutely sure that (Millennium) is the right product for India. To be frank, we are at the beginning of the process (of talks) with the Indian authorities. And we believe that with the right Indian partner and the right approach, we will be able to deliver the best solution to India, even integrating Indian products on the plane,” said Schneider at the time.
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In March, the current CEO of Embraer Defense and Security, Costa Junior, reinforced the interest of the Brazilian company in the Indian market and that “it is open to various types of cooperation” with the Asian country.
A joint venture between Embraer and HAL could lead to the implementation of a KC-390 assembly line in India. In recent years, New Delhi has been making large investments in its defense industry in order to become a protagonist in the sector and achieve greater independence in this field so as not to depend on imports.
Like Embraer, HAL has for many decades been a manufacturer supporting India’s defense initiatives. The company, however, was not born state-owned like its Brazilian counterpart. It was founded by businessman Walchand Hirachand in December 1940.
But already in the following year, the Indian government decided to acquire part of the shares and in 1942 nationalized the then Hindustan Aircraft Limited. The manufacturer has already developed several aircraft, but the most notorious currently is the LCA Tejas fighter, which is vying for an order from the Argentine Air Force.