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Embraer sees strong demand for C-390 Millennium airlifter in Asia

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SINGAPORE — After a successful bid in South Korea, Brazil aerospace company Embraer anticipates high market demand in Asia for its C-390 Millennium tactical airlifter.

South Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration selected the C-390 in December under a $544 million Large Transport Tactical Aircraft II program. While the cargo plane had been raking in business from European and Middle Eastern countries in 2023, the order was the company’s first in Asia.

“The Korean decision was very important,” Embraer Chief Commercial Officer for International Business Federico Lemos told reporters during a security and defense briefing at the Singapore Airshow this week. “We are receiving a lot of interest and this is part of a greater opportunity.”

Embraer did not disclose target markets, but officials indicated that new customers may be revealed in the first quarter.

Officials said they plan to take the C-390 plane on display at the Singapore Airshow to other countries in the region before returning to Brazil.

Despite lacking a publicized order in Southeast Asia, the company signed a maintenance, repair and overhaul agreement with ST Engineering this week dedicated solely to the C-390.

Executives also said Embraer intends to leverage an existing partnership with Swedish firm Saab to explore new markets. The companies signed a production line deal for Saab’s Gripen fighters in Embraer’s Gaviao Pexioto plant in Brazil last May and ihave agreed to pitch the C-390 together to the Swedish Air Force.

Apart from the partnership with Saab, Embraer has engaged with domestic firms to offer the C-390.

Earlier this month, the company partnered with India’s Mahindra Defence Systems to offer the C-390 to the Indian Air Force. The IAF sought to replace aging AN32 planes and was reportedly planning to order 40 to 80 medium transport aircraft.

In December, the company signed a memorandum of understanding with state-owned Saudi Arabian Military Industries to pitch the C-390 to the Ministry of Defense and to establish a regional MRO hub and assembly line in the country.

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