December 19, 2019 / 11:01 PM / 2 months ago

UPDATE 1-Brazil's Embraer plans to develop light military transport plane

(Adds details from announcement)

BRASILIA, Dec 19 (Reuters) - Brazilian planemaker Embraer S.A. said it signed a memorandum of understanding with the Brazilian Air Force on Thursday to jointly study the potential development of a new light military transport aircraft.

Embraer said in a statement it is looking to identify the Brazilian Air Force’s operational needs in the Amazon region and explore the potential application of new technologies such as hybrid-electric propulsion.

Embraer’s commercial passenger jet unit was taken over by Boeing Co this year, but its executive jets and defense unit stayed in the Brazilian company.

The plan to design and build a light military transport plane is a new project for the Brazilian company, which is now more reliant on defense and has shifted from development to production for the KC-390 military jet.

The Brazilian Air Force (FAB) received this year its first units of the KC-390, a multi-mission tactical military airlifter, Embraer said.

“FAB ... seeks with this study to complement and modernize its transport capabilities in the smaller segments, in order to broadly and completely fulfill Brazil’s needs,” the statement said.

Under the agreement, Embraer will carry out market studies for the development of the new aircraft, while FAB will provide its expertise in operating aircraft in this segment, it said. The joint study will look at FAB’s needs in difficult environments, such as unpaved, short and damaged runways located in remote areas, Embraer added.

Reporting by Anthony Boadle; Editing by Sandra Maler and Leslie Adler

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