DRDO Airborne Early Warning and Control System (AEWCS install on Embraer ERJ-145 aircraft

With India expected to spend $130 billion on defence modernisation, Brazilian defence major Embraer plans to boost local partnerships

With India expected to spend close to $130 billion on defence modernisation in the coming years, Brazilian defence and aviation major Embraer plans to boost local partnerships in a bid to aid India’s indigenisation ambitions and boost the country’s global defence exports.

“Besides boosting the country’s local manufacturing, Embraer can also help India to become a critical supplier in the global supply chain through its substantial offerings in aerospace units," said senior Embraer executive Caetano Neto in response to Mint’s queries. The goal, Neto added, was to boost India’s domestic capabilities while also helping it reach the status of a global defence exporter.

Embraer, which was founded in Brazil’s Sao Paulo in 1969, is the third largest manufacturer of civil aircraft after Boeing and Airbus. The company has also built up a presence in the defence aviation market with sales to NATO countries like Portugal, Hungary and the Netherlands, among others.

Embraer has already secured some defence orders from India. The company’s Legacy 600 jets are used by the Border Security Force and the Indian Air Force for transporting senior government officials and VIPs. Further, the Brazilian firm also contributed to the development of the IAF’s AWACS (Airborne Early Warning and Control System) airborne radar system. The company has also been in talks to sell the IAF its C-390 military transport aircraft, particularly for use in India’s northern sectors.

Caetano Neto also laid out Embraer’s future plans. First, the firm hopes to sell India its multi-role light attack aircraft, the A-29 Super Tuscano. The Brazilian aviation major believes that this platform will prove attractive to the IAF, Indian Navy, Coast Guard and border security forces like the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and the Border Security Force (BSF). This platform is currently used by the Philippines, Indonesia, Lebanon and a number of Latin American air forces. Embraer also hopes to use its prior experience in radar systems to help India manage its land and coastal borders.

“India is a key market for us and we are keen to establish local partnerships in the country that can further boost India’s defence industries and capabilities," Neto said in response to a query on Embraer’s willingness to transfer technology to Indian partners.

Embraer, he added, was “in talks with various Indian companies for prospective partnerships not only for the requirements from Indian forces but also to meet global requirements."

“We see India not as a customer but as a promising business partner," he went on to say.

In recent years, the defence relationship between India and Brazil has grown significantly. Mint had earlier reported on small arms manufacturer Taurus Armas’ plans to set up a manufacturing facility in partnership with Jindal Defence in India. Taurus, a Brazilian firm, made clear that it was open to defence technology transfers and bolstering India’s defence indigenisation ambitions. Taurus, which is expected to begin production of its pistols and carbines in a Haryana-based factory this month, outlined its plans to build up the domestic defence ecosystem by largely sourcing indigenous components.