Embraer Enters Unmanned Vehicles Market through Partnership with Elbit Systems, Santos Lab

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Brazil's new Hermes 450 will be delivered and supported by Elbit Systems' local subsidiary Aeroeletrônica Ltda. (AEL). Photo: Elbit Systems

Embraer Defense and Security division (Embraer Defesa e Segurança S.A) has entered into a strategic agreement with AEL Sistemas S.A (“AEL”), a wholly owned subsidiary of Elbit Systems. The two companies have yet to define the specific programs to be pursued but, according to officials from the two companies, the main goals of the current cooperation will be the expanding of joint activities in the area of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), including the anticipated creation of a jointly owned company, with majority participation of Embraer D&S. One of the primary goals of the JV will be to promote the introductio and use of Elbit Systems Hermes 450 UAV in the service of the Brazilian Air Force.

Brazil's new Hermes 450 will be delivered and supported by Elbit Systems' local subsidiary Aeroeletrônica Ltda. (AEL). Photo: Elbit Systems
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Embraer also announced a cooperation with Brazilian based UAV specialist company Santos Lab, aimed at establishing foothold in the area of small UAVs. Santos has been licensed to operate the Scan eagle UAV in Brazil, and at the LAAD 2011 exhibition, has launched a new, mini-UAV designed for short range reconnaissance and security.

According to Luiz Carlos Aguiar, President of Embraer D&S, his company considers that the announce agreement intends will strengthen both companies’ offerings in the Brazilian market. ”Tese vehicles allow for dual-use for monitoring of ports, agricultural, forest, and coastal areas, traffic, etc”. Aguiar added.

Shlomo Erez, Director General of AEL considers this strategic agreement with Embraer significant milestone for AEL, seeking to establish UAS competencies in Brazil. This cooperation with Embraer will leverage new business opportunities and enhance Brazilian know-how in the development and manufacture of unmanned systems, offering latest generation technology in order to meet the specific demands and needs of our country”. Erez added: “The agreement foresees the evaluation of joint activities in marketing, development, systems integration, manufacturing and support of UAS, as well as in simulators and activities for the modernization of avionics systems, and the anticipated participation of Embraer Defesa e Segurança in the capital of AEL”.”

Other areas considered for future cooperation are aircraft modernization and upgrading. Embraer and AEL have a successful track record of cooperative relationships with AEL providing avionics for aircraft upgrades undertaken by Embraer. AEL is hopeful that by establishing joint partnership with Brazil’s leading aircraft manufacturer, this relationship could be taken into a new level.

AEL was one of the first suppliers of systems for the turboprop Tucano basic trainer and the subsonic fighter AMX, aircraft manufactured by Embraer in the 1980s and 1990s. Currently, AEL provides the avionics for the turboprop light attack and advanced training Super Tucano, as well as the avionics of the F-5M fighter, modernized by Embraer for the Brazilian Air Force (FAB).