Embraer announced an agreement with SAMI, the largest defense and security company in Saudi Arabia, to enable the sale and support of the C-390 Millennium for the Arab country’s Air Force.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed this Wednesday, 29th, on the second day of the visit of the president of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, to Saudi Arabia.
According to Embraer, the partnership aims to offer the multi-role aircraft to the country, in addition to establishing a regional MRO (Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul) center and even a final assembly line for the aircraft.
The two companies also intend to work on training, looking at new opportunities in the aerospace sector in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the region.
“We are delighted to have signed this agreement with Embraer, bringing new support and production facilities into the Kingdom. It is another important step in SAMI’s efforts in supporting the Saudi Vision 2030 to strengthen the Kingdom’s self-sufficiency in the defense sector and contribution to the localization of 50% of the defense spending In the Kingdom by 2030,” said Eng. Walid A. Abukhaled, CEO of SAMI.
“This is the first step to advance cooperation in Defense and Security involving production chains between the two countries. With this Memorandum of Understanding, Embraer advances further into a strategic market. We will work hard to add value to the local industry, to the Royal Saudi Air Force, and to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” added Bosco da Costa Junior, President and CEO of Embraer Defense & Security.
Royal Saudi Air Force operates rival C-130J Hercules
Embraer’s move takes advantage of the Brazilian government’s rapprochement with the monarchy of the Middle Eastern country, Brazil’s largest trading partner in the region.
However, Saudi Arabia has been a strategic ally of the United States and its air force operates 33 old C-130H Hercules, as well as having a pending order for 20 aircraft from Lockheed Martin.
There are also seven KC-130H and two KC-130J (out of five ordered), which have the task of aerial refueling.
Despite this, the Royal Saudi Air Force intends to expand its tactical transport capacity and the C-390 Millennium could be an important addition, due to its greater speed and payload capacity – 26 tons versus 20 tons for the C-130J-30.
An order from the country would mark the first sale of the C-390 in the region. To date, only European countries and Brazil have selected the aircraft.