India is hopeful of cooperating with Embraer on development of a 90- to 100-seat regional airliner, says a government official at the Feb. 20 unveiling in Brazil of the first EMB-145 airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) platform for India.
The contract to provide three EMB-145 AEW&C testbeds lays a foundation for cooperation between India and Embraer on commercial aircraft and other programs, says VK Saraswat, director general of the Bangalaru-based Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO).
Saraswat says the Indian government has sanctioned the development of a 90- to 100-seat regional transport and talks have taken place with Embraer. He also notes the potential for cooperation with Brazil on India’s planned fifth-generation Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft, but Embraer says no discussion have taken place on that program.
India’s National Aerospace Laboratory is studying both a 70- to 90-seat regional turboprop and a 90- to 100-seat jet, and the so-called “high powered committee on national civil aircraft development” is to submit a feasibility report to the government by March-April.
Embraer, meanwhile, is studying options in response to the all-new Bombardier CSeries and re-engined Airbus A320NEO, ranging from engine and other upgrades for its 70- to 110-seat E-170/190 family to development of a larger, all-new aircraft.
In addition to the three EMB-145 AW&C platforms, Embraer has delivered Legacy VIP transports to the Indian air force and is the preferred bidder for a nine-aircraft contract to supply additional Legacys for electronic intelligence and target towing.