Embraer today announced it signed several Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) with the aerospace companies ASTG (Aerospace Technology of Global), EMK (EM Korea Co.), and Kencoa Aerospace, all from South Korea. The objective of these MoUs is to strengthen collaboration with Korean defense industry partners for the future supply of parts for the C-390 Millennium aircraft. The C-390 Millennium aircraft is competing in the Large Transport Aircraft II Program being run by the Defense Acquisition Program Administration.
The potential supply of South Korean manufactured parts contributes to the offset requirements of the LTA II Program. The MoUs create long-term business relationships between the parties which will endure for the LTA II Program and beyond. Local industry capabilities can also be part of future developments within Embraer’s existing platforms such as the C-390 Millennium as well as new aircraft, vehicles, and systems.
Since its first delivery to the Brazilian Air Force, the KC-390 Millennium has proven its capability, reliability, and performance. FAB’s current fleet consists of five KC-390s. This fleet has exceeded 7,000 flight hours in operation, with a 99% mission completion rate.
These MoUs are potentially more important than they appear. Although it is focused on the C-390 Millennium and KC-390, it could be interesting to see if there is any connection with other Embraer projects. For example, their next-generation turboprop which it plans to launch at the 2023 Paris Airshow. Embraer has been looking for partners for some time to share the risks and costs. The airframer has been silent on to whom it is talking, but President and CEO of Commercial Aviation, Arjan Meijer, said at the Farnborough Airshow that things are progressing well.
South Korea has its own aerospace ambitions. Starting with KAI. The US Trade Administration describes the aerospace industry as “a best prospect industry sector for this country”. The link provides an excellent overview of the interaction between the US and South Korea in this industry. Plus the data tables indicate the potential of the market. South Korea has been involved in various Boeing programs like the 787 wingbox through Korean Aerospace Industries.
Reviewing the firms Embraer signed MoUs with we note they are all defense-oriented, as is Embraer’s KC-390. This clearly the basis and foundation of the current phase. But aerospace is an industry with many tentacles. For example, Kencoa clearly interests in eVTOL and commercial. Indeed, Kencoa has a substantial US facility that is highly commercial aerospace-focused. ASTG also appears to be focused on commercial aerospace. EMK, on the other hand, is a defense firm. It is the armor supplier to the Polish military, a deal that attracted a lot of attention.
In summary, Embraer is going to cooperate with big firms with similar interests. There appears to be good synergy.
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