The CEO of Embraer Defesa e Seguranca (ED&S), Luiz Carlos Aguiar, says Embraer already has signed up Argentina, Portugal and the Czech Republic as industrial partners on the KC-390. He says Embraer would be unwilling to immediately include Indonesia as an industrial partner because such a move could disrupt the program and jeopardize its schedule. “But in the future we would be open to discussions with Indonesia and other countries with regard to industrial cooperation on the KC-390,” he says. Embraer is aiming to complete the joint definition phase by the end of next March and conduct the first test flight in 2014.
In terms of industrial links, Indonesia has close ties with South Korea. The Southeast Asian nation is a 20% partner on the KFX, the new fighter that South Korea is developing. Indonesia also recently ordered 16 Korean Aerospace Industries T-50 jet trainers. The first T-50 is slated to be delivered to Indonesia next year. As for what offsets Indonesia has received for ordering T-50s, Eris says the two sides have come to an understanding that when the South Korean coast guard needs to purchase more CN235s, it will order them from IAe. The Korean coast guard already operates Indonesian-built CN235s, the last of which it received in the first quarter of this year. It was the final of four that the coast guard ordered from IAe.
In the longer term, Indonesia is eyeing airborne early warning (AEW) aircraft. The country currently uses old Boeing 737-200s fitted with surveillance equipment. Eris says: “Yes, we need AEW but I don't know when a budget will be made available.”