Sunday, March 2, 2014
Is Chile Bailing Out on Embraer's KC-390 Cargo Plane?
Since early in the development of the KC-390, Chile's Air Force has expressed interest in not just acquiring a few of the transport planes but also in being a manufacturing partner. But now, a report says Chile is shifting its attention to alternatives from Airbus. FACh is specifically eyeing the C-295 for a potential order of four to six medium transport planes, and the A400M to replace FACh's C-130 Hercules, according to InfoDefensa. Six A400Ms could be purchased. Chile had signed an intent to purchase as many as a half-dozen KC-390 planes from Brazil's Embraer, but the accord does not amount to a firm order, InfoDefensa added. Sources quoted in the article say Chile remains interested in buying the KC-390 but has backed out of being a partner in the program. Ironically, Chile had signed a preliminary deal for the A400 several years ago, only to withdraw later over questions about a partnership with Chile's state-owned aerospace company. FACh operates three aged C-130s and the plans to replace them have been murky and shifting. For example, last year the head of the Air Force announced the purchase of two used C-130s, but there's been no details since then. The Army is seeking its own tactical transport aircraft deal and is considering the Airbus C-295 as well. Its maritime patrol version is already in service with the Navy.