Boeing to Lead Embraer KC-390 Plane Sales Effort to Pentagon

Boeing Co. is to lead sales of Embraer SA’s new KC-390 military transport planes in the U.S., the world’s largest defense market, and some other countries as the planemakers expand their partnership on the jet.

Boeing will also be in charge of sales efforts in the U.K. and some Middle East countries, Luiz Carlos Aguiar, head of Embraer’s defense business, said today at the Paris Air Show. The jet will vie for a market of more than 700 planes, he said.

Embraer, based in Sao Jose dos Campos, Brazil, is developing the KC-390 jet to compete with other models, such as the C-130 made by Lockheed Martin Corp., the world’s largest defense company. Boeing and Embraer agreed to cooperate on the Brazilian plane last year with the Chicago-based company offering expertise generated through programs such as the C-17 military airlifter.

“One of the things we like about this partnership is the value and the performance the KC-390 can bring,” said Chris Raymond, vice president of business development for Boeing defense. Boeing would also provide support for Embraer-led sales efforts, he said.

Embraer expects to book initial KC-390 sales in the first quarter, with the first flight due before 2015 after completing its critical design review last month, Aguiar said.

In the U.S. “there will be a need to look at next generation medium mobility,” Raymond said. Production of the planes would likely take place in Brazil, he said.

Any U.S. effort would comply with rules that require most of the work on a Pentagon program to be done in the U.S., Aguiar said.

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