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MILITARY TECHNOLOGY (MILTECH) is the world's leading international tri-service defence monthly magazine in the English language. MILITARY TECHNOLOGY is "Required Reading for Defence Professionals". Follow us on Twitter: MILTECH1

28 June 2016

Embraer Defense & Security: A Multi-Faceted Technology House

Embraer Defense & Security (DS), not only offers military and government transportation aircraft, the A-29 Super TUCANO, and the KC-390, for which the company is famous for, but also offers a complete line of integrated solutions such as C4I (Command, Control, Communication, Computers & Intelligence) applications; technologies in the production of radars, advanced information; air traffic control and communication systems; and integrated systems for border monitoring and surveillance.

The A-29 Super TUCANO is currently selected by 13 air forces worldwide, including the US Air Force (USAF), who have chosen the aircraft for its Light Air Support (LAS) programme. According to Jackson Schneider, President and Chief Executive Officer Embraer DS, “we are operating in three warzones, with more than 35,000 combat hours.”

A-29 Super TUCANO. (Photos: Embraer)

Embraer has already delivered more than 200 Super TUCANO aircraft, “assembling six aircraft for the USAF to be sent to Lebanon, to be used in an border surveillance,” said Schneider. With more than 150 weapons configurations certified, it is equipped with advanced electronic, electro-optic, infrared, and laser system technologies (customisable to customer specifications), as well as secure radio systems with data links and great munitions capacity.

Currently we are in sales campaigns with four different countries,” the CEO unveiled, not disclosing who these are.

The KC-390 is a tactical transport aircraft designed to set new standards in its category while “presenting the lowest life-cycle cost of the market,” according to Schneider. It is a project of the Brazilian Air Force (FAB) that, in 2009, hired Embraer to perform the aircraft development. Under this programme, industrial partnerships were also established with Argentina, Portugal, and the Czech Republic. The KC-390 ́s first prototype has performed its first flight in February 2015 and the aircraft is now in the flight test campaign. “The flight test campaign of the KC-390 is progressing extremely well, and we are surpassing all requirements,” according to the industry expert.


The current stage of the flight test campaign was dedicated to a general assessment of its systems, performance and flying qualities. Embraer has recently performed the initial cargo airdrop and paratroops assessment as well as the rear ramp, cargo door and paratroops door operation. The programme has already covered the full flight envelope of the aircraft reaching cruise speed of Mach .80 and operational ceiling of 36.000ft, performing daily flights. Other milestones achieved also include flight control systems, sidesticks linked and active, complete flap and slat configuration tests, as well as inflight shutdown and restart of the engines and APU.

The flight test schedule for 2016 includes aerodynamics freezing, air drop tests, paratrooper evaluation and aerial refueling hose stability. “Dry AAR tests will start this year, first refueling aircraft, with helicopter AAR coming shortly after,” he said. In total, the flight test campaign is expected to last around two years. Embraer expects to receive the certification of the KC-390 jet by the end of 2017 with first deliveries of the aircraft scheduled for the first half of 2018. “A third test aircraft will be delivered to the FAB, to be delivered beginning 2018,” Schneider explained.

Equipped with International Aero Engines V2500 turbofan engines, the latest avionics, a rear ramp, and an advanced cargo handling system, the KC-390 will provide excellent operational productivity and will be capable of transporting a payload of up to 23t, including pallets, helicopters, armored wheeled vehicles, and troops (80 soldiers or 64 paratroopers). "We can load up to 26t, if you concentrate cargo," the CEO said.

Embraer’s Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft family consists of three models: Airborne Early Warning & Control (AEW&C), Multi Intel (Remote Sensing and Surveillance) system, and Maritime Patrol (MP), all based on the EMB 145 regional jet family (more than 1,100 delivered and 20 million accumulated flight hours).

Brazilian Air Force (FAB) EMB 145 AEW&C aircraft. Embraer’s AEW&C platforms is equipped with a multi-mission multi- mode pulse Doppler radar with AESA (Active Electronic Search Antenna) technology, capable of detecting, tracking and plotting air targets operating at low altitudes, under all kinds of radar clutter. They are also capable to accomplish tactical and defensive forces management. The open architecture Command & Control (C2) system provides integration of processes and information dissemination from Tactical Communication Systems, Electronic Support Measures, Automatic Identification System and Self-Protection System, among others. AEW&C platforms, besides the sensors and mission systems, can be integrated with real time, wide band Tactical Communi

Seventeen units of the EMB 145 ISR family have been delivered to four air forces, worldwide. The FAB operates eight of them in the Amazon Surveillance System (SIVAM): Five EMB 145 AEW&Cs and three Multi Intel EMB 145s. Another three aircraft are in operation in Mexico, with the National Defense Department (SEDENA) using one EMB 145 AEW&C and two EMB 145MPs. The Greek Air Force uses four EMB 145 AEW&Cs that operate in conjunction with NATO. The Indian Air Force operates three EMB 145 AEW&C. India’s EMB 145 AEW&C has important capabilities, such as an in-flight refueling system, a significantly greater electrical and refrigeration capacity, and a set of structural changes that allow the installation of advanced mission systems that were developed by India’s Centre for Air Borne Systems – (CABS), in conjunction with the Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO).

According to news reports, the FAB was scheduled to receive the first Legacy 500 navigational aid aircraft in May. The last of six Legacy 500s (designated IU-50 by the FAB) is to be delivered in November 2017. The business aircraft, modified by Embraer DS, includes Rockwell Collins Pro Line Fusion integrated avionics system, Norwegian Special Mission (NSM) UNIFIS 3000 navigational aid automatic flight inspection system, a laser camera, and a range of external antennas. The new aircraft is a special mission aircraft used for aiport inspection.

In terms of C4I technologies, Embraer’s subsidiary Bradar is a technology-based company specialised in the development and production of radars for remote sensing as well as aerial and land surveillance applications: The SABER M-60 radar, for example, can track targets within a radius of 60km, transmitting information in real time to anti-aircraft operations centres, transmitting in P- and X-band frequencies. Since it is portable and lightweight, it can be easily transported to any location. The SABER M-60 was recently operated by the Brazilian Armed Forces in the security of major events such as the visit of Pope Francis to Brazil, the Confederations Cup, the Rio +20 Environment Conference and the FIFA World Cup 2014.

Bradar’s SENTIR M-20 is a portable short-range radar used in surveillance, acquisition, classification, location, tracking and automatic graphic display of targets on land or in air operations, such as: Individuals, troops, tanks, trucks, and trains on land, and helicopters within a range of up to 30 kilometres.

Still in development, the S200R is a secondary radar developed to send and receive information from transponders installed in any aircraft, providing precise identification and altitude data. The S200R is able to operate in a range of up to 200 nautical miles (370km). The BradarSAR synthetic aperture radar was developed to map terrain, day and night, generating high-resolution precision maps. It is very efficient for acquisition and imaging of surfaces in regions often obscured by clouds or areas with very dense vegetation. It weights only 30kg and can be easily installed in small, low-cost aircraft. It can also be installed in unmanned air vehicles.

In Embraer's integrated solutions, Atech provides for all communications and C4I capabilities.

Savis, an Embraer subsidiary dedicated to developing, integrating, and setting up systems and services in the area of border monitoring and protection of strategic structures is responsible for implementing the Integrated Border Monitoring System (Sisfron) in Brazil. Sisfron’s initial phase includes the monitoring of approximately 650km of land along the border of Brazil with Paraguay and Bolivia. In total, Sisfron will be responsible for the surveillance and protection of the 16,886km of and borders separating Brazil from 11 neighboring countries and representing 27% of its territory. "It is the right size solution that we can deliver according to customers needs," Schneider concluded.