Chilean expertise sought for military transport plane project

Agreement with Brazil to develop a twin-engine jet-powered plane capable of transporting up to 21 metric tons.

Ilustración del avión militar de transporte KC-390
Ilustración del avión militar de transporte KC-390

Chile’s National Aeronautics Company could take part in developing a military transport plane being produced in Brazil.

A declaration of intent, signed by the defense ministers of Chile and Brazil, Jaime Ravinet and Nelson Jobim,  would see Santiago-based Empresa Nacional de Aeronautica (ENAER) participate in the program for the KC-390 with the Brazilian aerospace firm Embraer. The terms and conditions of the declaration will be negotiated.

Chile’s involvement in the program would increase the country’s engineering and parts production capabilities, as well as contribute to the growth of its aviation industry, the Ministry of Defense said in a statement.

The twin-engine jet-powered plan will be capable of transporting up to 21 metric tons (46000 lbs). Embraer has said the first prototype of the aircraft will be delivered in 2014.

“We would like this project to be developed because it involves a very important input of technology for ENAER,” Defense Minister Ravinet said.

His Brazilian counterpart added that the plane’s construction was of great importance as it would enter the market as the American-built Hercules C-130 nears the end of its production.

“There is a merge for the construction of a plane of great importance for the future,” said Minister Jobim. “It is a plane that has a very strong commercial place now that the American C-130 Hercules is nearing the end of its life.”

The minister added that ENAER had also been chosen because Chile has worked on other EMBRAER aircraft, including the company’s Legacy and Phenom models.

The two companies, and the governments of Chile and Brazil, have had strong business relations since the beginning of the 1990s, the statement said.

Earlier this year, Chile hosted the International Air and Space Show, which is considered the most important aeronautical exhibit in the Southern Cone of America.(2)