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Friday, September 9, 2011

Brazil's Embraer to begin building drones

Embraer, the world's fourth-biggest aircraft maker, announced Thursday an agreement with Israel's Elbit Systems to develop and produce unmanned drones in Brazil.

As part of the joint venture, a new company - Harpia Sistemas S.A. - will be created in which Embraer will have a 51 percent stake and AEL Sistemas, Elbit's Brazilian subsidiary, will hold the remaining 49 percent.

The main goal of the agreement is to 'focus on the Unmanned Aerial Vehicles market', Embraer said in a press release.

The new company will be headquartered in Brasilia and its activities will involve marketing, development, systems integration, manufacture, sales and UAV after-sale support, as well as flight simulators and the modernisation of avionics systems.

Harpia Sistemas 'will provide broader solutions for complex systems, increasing the market-share of Brazilian-made products in the national defense and security market', according to Embraer, the world leader in the regional jet market and also a manufacturer of military aircraft.

'Included among the guidelines of Brazil's national defense strategy are the pursuit of partnerships for technological development and capacity and the manufacture of national defense products,' said Luiz Carlos Aguiar, president of Embraer Defense and Security.

'The creation of Harpia,' he added, 'will be an important instrument for meeting the needs of the armed and security forces.'

As part of the joint venture and to participate in the process of technology transfers from Elbit Systems to Brazil, Embraer Defense and Security also will acquire 25 percent of AEL Sistemas' capital.

AEL currently supplies the avionics for Embraer's Super Tucano light attack and advanced training turboprop, as well as the F-5M fighter jets, Embraer said in the press release.

Brazil's Federal Police launched a programme two years ago to monitor the country's land borders with UAVs equipped with powerful cameras manufactured by Israeli state-owned firm Israel Aerospace Industries.

Police acquired two Hermes 450 drones from Elbit Systems to conduct surveillance in the Brazilian Amazon.